Thursday, March 1, 2018

Short-Sighted at the Edge of the Universe

Until last week, the most recent series in the Stargate franchise was the show Stargate: Universe. The premise of the show  was that an ancient race of beings created a ship designed to travel to the edge of the universe. The ship's mission was to uncover a mysterious signal that seemed to predate the existence of the universe itself. Even though this ship traveled amazingly fast, the journey was still supposed to take millions of years. When humans recently discovered how to reach this ship through the stargate, the ship was already millions of years into its journey. Though the race that had created both the stargates and this ship were long dead and gone, their mission of discovery continued, now carried on by humans who had discovered the ship and its mission.

In some ways, the premise of the show is mind-blowing. Being onboard a space-ship that is millions of years old, continuing a journey of discovery started by an ancient alien race that has long since died out? The premise pushes the boundaries of the imagination in its size and scope, especially considering how short-sighted we can be.  As I thought about how far-reaching the vision of these fictional aliens would have to be, I began thinking about how many plans we make  for the future and how many of our visions are grand enough to continue past our own lifetimes. Then I found this verse: Proverbs 11:7 states,  "When the wicked die, their hopes perish with them, for they rely on their own feeble strength" (NLT).

One of the signs of a wicked person is their short-sightedness, the fact that their visions and hopes do not extend past themselves or what they can accomplish on their own. This short-sightedness is exactly the opposite of the way in which our Heavenly Father operates. Our Father operates on such a grand scale that, knowing we would sin and find ourselves separated from God, "he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 1:4-5, NIV).  Our Father set in motion a plan that would take millennia to unfold in order to give us a chance to be with him.  He made Abraham a promise that all the peoples of the world would be blessed through him. He gave Jesus' disciples a command to go preach the Gospel throughout the entire world. None of these plans were events that would take place overnight or even in the lifetimes of the individuals involved. God's plans are so big and so grand that they far out-live our individual life-spans.

What about us? What are our hopes? Are they short-sighted and centered around our own desires and limited by our own strength? Or do we take after our Father in our hopes? Are our hopes so big and grand that they can never be accomplished in a single life-time? Are our hopes so audacious that they will require more than the strength which we alone possess? If our hopes are bigger than ourselves, they will endure long after we are gone. But if we are wicked, our hopes will be confined to our own lifetimes and limited by our own strength.

What do our hopes say about us? Are we daring enough to hope for something bigger than ourselves? Are we willing to devote our strength to a cause that might not be accomplished in our own lifetimes?  If not, maybe we need a new hope.

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