We interact with stars by watching their movies, listening to their music, or watching them lead their team to victory. The papers and news channels tell us about their personal lives and we may even get their tweets sent to our phones. We all to some extent have a “hero” or two that we follow because their lives and what they live for amaze us.
The last few months, however, I’ve been growing in amazement at a different group of stars. Walking into the house when I get home at night gives me a chance to just look up into the inky blackness above me and see the glimmering dots of light hanging in the sky. These stars are huge and very far away. Their light takes years to get to us. And many of these stars are much bigger than our own Sun.
Most amazing to me was reading about how stars die. This is incredible because dying stars display some of the most beautiful images known to man. An article on the Hubble Space Telescope website describes the image above, which is an eruption of the dying star that is now nebula NGC 5189. If you give the post on the website a quick read, you’ll discover that the last amount of energy that fueled this star all its life is now used to create this stunning, color-filled explosion as it dies. It’s almost like the last bit of gas you have left in your tank as you’re trying to find the nearest gas station to refuel. Except, this last ounce of star-life is used to make a magnificent display for all the universe to see.
On a similar note, when I was reading the book “Indescribable” by Matt Redman and Louie Giglio, I discovered this eloquent explanation of star deaths, and how they can relate to our own lives:
…in the stars, we find beauty in dying. And in their Maker, we see the most glorious death of all. Christ [Jesus] made everything and owns everything, yet He chose to give Himself away as a peace offering for all humanity.
…those who cling to life with clenched fists, as though it is theirs to do with as they choose, will in the end have nothing but a brief and momentary existence. But those who get over themselves, shed their self-centeredness and self-absorption like the gas and dust shrugged off by a fading star, will find themselves on the doorstep of something more.
…In the end, dying is simply less of me and more of Jesus. Less trying. Less striving. Less strutting. And more trusting. More surrender. More of His power, doing in and through us what only He can do.
So, I hope you’ll join me in thinking about this. The universe does not revolve around us. Yet we have a ringside seat to a universe filled with beauty and also emptiness and death that can lead us to asking some big questions. And though death seems like a scary black hole of uncertainly, this God that created the universe can apparently make something beautiful out of it. Let’s look UP a little more often.