Why Do Stars Shine?
I’m ending tonight as I end pretty much every night, with a list of chapters to read, a computer in front of me, accompanied only by my thoughts. Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto is filling the room once more. It is truly one of my favorites, especially when the need to rise beyond my current capabilities is pressing. This particular movement of this beautiful piece has calmed me on many a stressful occasion. Some people like to distract themselves from the reality that confronts them. I prefer to face things with faith in God’s love and His power, in silent contemplation, and preparation.
With all the work I have, all the transitions, the challenges, the changes, opportunities, and just the foreignness of what I’m going through, I like to be able to cap off the day like this.
High up above me, past my ceiling, the apartments of those who live above me, beyond the draining nimbus clouds, and light years away are the stars. Stars have always fascinated people. I myself have written or drawn a few pieces inspired by stars. One of the more appreciated ones is a poem I wrote entitled Stargazing, that goes:
Sun is setting
We patiently lie and wait
A blanket beneath us
And soon above us
A vast blanket of stars
And if the day must end
To see the their lightLet night come
So clear and bright
They burn for us
Gone before we see them
Let tonight remind you
So you won’t forget
This you should know
That if a star must die
To make your dreams come true
Let mine fall
I wrote that? Yes. In another life.
The point is, the stars. They look so tiny, like tiny dots in this overwhelmingly dark expanse, yet our eyes are drawn to them because they shine. When there are no stars, everything just seems like one big black backdrop. With the stars, the night sky becomes beautiful.
And what makes stars shine? Well, scientifically, Nuclear Fusion. But before I lose you, let me share a simple explanation:
Stars are giant balls of glowing gas. Stars shine because the gas inside them is so hot that a process called “nuclear fusion” takes place. Nuclear fusion is where 2 atoms come together (or “fuse”) to form a different kind of atom; this process gives off a lot of energy that we can see as light.
You’re probably thinking, you lost me anyway, but let me try make this meaningful.
What makes stars shine, is the tension within them. When everything inside them starts to come alive, starts to bang into each other and connect, and out of that moving, and hitting, and coming together, is this bright light. And it’s so bright that not even night can overcome it, in fact, night emphasizes its brightness.
I like to remember this picture when my conflicting thoughts, emotions, and ideas are at war within me. I like to remind myself that in my struggles, if I do not run away or deny, if I let things bump, and move, and challenge, out of this may come an explosion of light, a light that may illuminate the way for others.
I love how John 1:5 describes light, particularly our Great Light, Jesus Christ:
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Even now, as I write this, I think about the conflict Jesus must have faced in the Garden of Gethsemane. “Father, is there no other way? Please take this cup from me.”
What a dark moment in a man’s life. The man who had no sin was about to suffer the punishment for all of man’s sin. That must have been a terrible ordeal.
But He didn’t run. He surrendered. “But Your will, not my will be done.”
The darkness could not overcome the light.
In this entitled world, where everyone thinks they have a right to anything they want, this idea of sacrifice and suffering is outdated, yet Jesus showed us the model for setting others free of darkness, in our own darkness, let His will be done. Let God turn your pain, your conflict, your doubt, your fear, your questions into something amazing.
I’m not so convinced I wrote this piece as well as I should, so I may be editing it in the future, but the basic thought I want to leave you is this:
Your dark circumstance is your time to shine. Allow Jesus to illuminate your soul, and discover that when His light shines in your life, darkness cannot overcome it.