Do you think the sun is doing a good enough job? Do we need a bigger one? While it doesn’t receive rave reviews daily, most people believe our local nuclear sphere pumps out all the heat and light that we need.
Continue orbiting around the sun for a moment, but while you’re doing that, allow me to remove the planet Earth from beneath you. That done, take a sample of the void now existing around you where Earth and its atmosphere used to be. What’s the “air” temperature? Frigid. What about visibility; is the area around you well lit or too dark? Black, but for the twinkle of stars. Hmmm. There you are, orbiting around the Sun at the same distance as always, but experiencing a reality radically different from what you’re accustomed to – almost as different as if the Sun itself had been removed, rather than the planet you live on.
Let’s try one more thing before we’re done. You can have your planet back for this one, on the following condition: the sun has to do all the work of illumination by itself. In fact, I’ll be more than fair on this: go trade our Sun for a brighter star – get one with such intense luminosity that you can no longer lift your eyes to the horizon without risking blindness. Then go outside at high noon and look all around...notice the areas of complete blackness near every visible object. The problem isn’t the intensity of the light (it’s painfully bright), but somehow, the light just isn’t getting everywhere it needs to go. Without the aid of reflective materials (please note: everything visible IS visible because it reflects light to some degree), no star of any size can stop you from creating impenetrable shadows in broad daylight simply by blocking its rays; and anything not in direct line with a light source essentially becomes invisible.
We often forget that the incredible effectiveness of a certain burning planet is entirely dependent on the materials it has to work with on the receiving end. Specifically, it needs materials that will absorb and radiate its heat and reflect its light.
Too often in our Christian walk, we’re wishing God would crank up the wattage, as if that would fix the problems. If he would only make the light shine brighter, the world would awaken, Christians would “get with the program,” evil would have no place to hide and our personal lack of faith would disappear. If he would just make the heat hotter, we’d feel warmer toward those around us, ignite with passion for what’s truly important, burn off our impurities, consider getting “on fire for Jesus” and maybe even burst off a solar flare of good works.
But we’ve misunderstood the nature of things. The son is shining bright enough and as hot as we need him to. That’s not the problem; the problem lies with us. Our world will only have the heat and light it needs when our lives are truly absorbing and radiating the heat of his passion and sacrificial love; reflecting the bright radiance of his goodness and glory into the shadows around us. We’re a beautiful, critical part of the design.