So check this out and be encouraged! I didn’t take that top image of the Neowise comet, but I did take the other three in this blog. Here’s a short thought for you during these difficult times in our culture. It occurred to me as the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart after Kathy commented about our efforts to finally, and successfully locate and capture some images of the Neowise Comet in July 2020. BTW, that image is some artist’s version of what the comet would look like “if” all things were perfect.
If you’re like me, nothing ever seems to go perfectly. But, with some effort and at times, with sincere and dedicated perseverance, we find what we’re looking for or we achieve our goals. In July, rain and clouds had prohibited most nights even attempting to see the comet in the Northwestern sky of the Southern United States. Yet, a window of time opened the night that Neowise was at it’s peak. After struggling with a camera that I had not yet operated at night, I finally found the comet. We had located it (we thought!) with binoculars and had confirmed with night vision settings on the camera. As you might guess, night vision is both monochrome and very grainy. It took some time to finally figure out how to capture the brilliance of blues and grays and to shoot a hundred or so images to capture that one image that would be worth sharing.
After we shot multiple images, with a bunch of smiles and high-fives, we ended the evening as the clouds rolled into a blanket covering the Northwestern sky and the window that had seemingly been our friend for the last couple hours. We closed down and put the gear away for the night. Just as I began to inspect the memory card on the laptop, I realized that the card was full of images from another project… We literally captured nothing. I was totally bummed… So much effort gone. But, Kathy said, “Honey, look at the positive side of this! We just saw the comet and enjoyed the evening together. We have the memory and we can try again.”
Me, in my on-queue negative way said, “yeah but…”
Ever been there? I mean in life stuff… you probably know what I mean. Yeah, me too! But, check this out!
Several days passed and it rained… and kept raining! I started thinking it was some kind of conspiracy keeping us from seeing that comet again. You ever feel like that when things just don’t seem to be going the way you expect or want them to? And then, I prayed. Yes, God cares even about the little things in our lives. I can share so many times that God has intervened or stepped in when I thought there was no way that he could possibly care. But, he does.
It was the last night that the comet would be visible and bright enough to see with a little help from binoculars. We searched for almost an hour – and then… there is was – we thought. It took a while to get the nigh vision onto it and to confirm the tail. Then, as the clouds and light pollution gave way to the blackness of the evening sky, we could see that signature head and what appeared to be a “V” shape behind it as it raced toward the horizon for the last time.
Kathy was so excited! I couldn’t hardly keep the comet in frame because of the light conditions and it’s apparent distance from the earth at this point. But, we got the cross-hairs over the head of the comet and opened the shutter! and — wow!! There it was!
Then, Kathy turned to me and said, “You see, it just took perseverance!” She was so happy, and her excitement made me excited. Over the next 20 minutes or so, the Lord blessed us with a window of sky that just seemed to open up right in front of us! We captured some pretty amazing images. They weren’t as spectacular as they were the night we thought we had captured even more detailed and rich-color images when the comet was closest to the Earth.
But, isn’t that also a lot like real life? I was delighted to have a life partner that loved me enough to keep encouraging me to do what I know how to do well. Even when I was frustrated and wanted to quit, she pushed me to be the best that I could be and to do the best that I could do. It paid off and the effort became a testimony to answered prayer and to what we can do when we live and work together in unity (Psalm 133). Check out these couple images and then I’ll share with you what I really think God was teaching me through those days and minutes in July.
The God Who Gives Perseverance and Encouragement
Check this out! I love the Book of Romans in the Bible. It is so full of real-life stuff! It says, “Now may the God Who gives perseverance (also patience) and encouragement (also comfort) grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Jesus Christ; that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Romans 15: 5-6, Ryrie NASV, NKJV) Isn’t that in a sense exactly what Kathy did for me and what we did together? Without perseverance, we never would have seen the comet in the first place. Without continued perseverance and encouragement we never would have found the comet a second time and captured some pretty neat images.
Now may the God Who gives perseverance (also patience) and encouragement (also comfort) grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Jesus Christ; that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!Romans 15: 5-6, Ryrie NASV, NKJV
I think there’s a much larger message for the Church today. Paul, the writer of Romans prayed that God would “grant us” – meaning give to us a gifts with power to execute on them… the character traits of perseverance and encouragement. I have to ask you something if you are a Christian.
I am writing an article, which is the third part of a trilogy I have penned on the current social chaos surrounding Black Lives Matter. I hope you’ll read the series, but if not, will you consider this scripture and ask yourself, does it make sense for the Church to be in partnership with a worldly organization that is promoting and subversively spreading the contagion of socialism?
Christian, be encouraged and promote unity and peace! There is only one-race. It is the Human Race. We all fall short and God made provision for us and for unity through Jesus Christ and the Cross. God worked diligently throughout history to unify mankind. Even in this scripture, the Apostle Paul is making sure that we understand that Jesus was God’s answer to unify His own people with non-Jewish people groups then called “Gentiles.”
Dear Christian, I have labored over many of our modern-day issues. I have wrestled with them for more than three decades of nearly six decades of life. May I make a request of you?
If you will focus on Jesus and build your local church in such a way as to allow all of us, no matter what color or ethnic culture to come together to worship the One true God, then you will not need to march and create havoc in the streets. Jesus didn’t model this for us or teach us those worldly methods. He said that if the world sees us, then they will be drawn to us… I think it is time for the Church to stop acting as if we need to be like the world to draw them… Jesus told us we would have trouble (John 16: 33), but he also taught us that our unity was key to reaching a lost a dying world.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”Matthew 28: 19-20, Bible, NKJV
All Lives Matter and we as Christians must be about the work of Jesus, not Social Justice First. If you are a pastor or a lay-leader in your local church, will you consider rethinking the entire matter on race? Facts and Truth do matter. Much of what is being discussed is not factual, but more importantly, it is not honest or truthful. We have the Answer. You have the answer! His name is Jesus. Will you consider stepping back from the emotional “movement,” and consider coming back to your First Love (Revelation 2: 4). His Name is Jesus. Jesus Matters and He died and conquered death, because to Him, ALL of Our LIVES MATTER.