A Facebook friend recently posted a link to this video about the Hubble Telescope. In 1995, NASA astronomers trained this powerful instrument on a dark patch of sky, believing there wasn’t much out there. Over 340 exposures were made over a period of ten days, surprising the scientists with images of over 3000 galaxies! In 2004, the scientists repeated the experiment with improved filters, pointing the telescope in another area of the heavens. This time, the image uncovered about 10,000 galaxies. Not too long ago, NASA created a 3D fly-through of this part of space, dubbed the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field.
Aren’t we like those earthbound scientists sometimes? We look at the world through myopic lenses and conclude there is nothing but darkness. And, make no mistake, there is darkness. Dictators gassing their own citizens, school bullies pushing fellow students to suicide, profiteers selling women and children for sex, churches that spew hate or turn a blind eye to the needy…the list of individual and corporate sins that envelop the world with gloom is seemingly endless.
Like a lot of people, I get cynical and jaded. I look around and curse the darkness sometimes. I have thought, on more than one occasion, that the world is going to hell in a handbasket.
That’s when I need to be smacked upside the head and reminded that darkness is not all there is–this time, it came through an article about deep-field images of the sky. We don’t have to look at the world through the naked human eye. In fact, we shouldn’t lest we become the person I just described: bitter, hard, pessimistic.
No, we can peer into the darkness through the telescope of faith and perceive the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). We can see that no matter how murky it looks, there is Light, after all. This is the Light that keeps burning bright no matter how much gloom the world throws at it. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).
The Hubble Telescope has allowed humanity to gaze into the deepest reaches of space and look at the oldest galaxies in the universe. But that’s nothing. Those with the telescope of faith can see into a world of eternal light and glory that no human eye can ever capture.