Astronomers say they have discovered the largest and brightest supernova ever seen.
A supernova is defined as an extremely bright and powerful explosion of a dying, massive star at least five times the mass of our sun. A study published yesterday reports that the mass of this supernova, labeled SN2016aps, was between fifty and one hundred times greater than our sun.
For a sense of scale: our sun could contain 1.3 million Earths and is about 333,000 times the mass of our planet. It contains 99.8 percent of the mass of the entire solar system. While it has burned off material that is more than 100 times the mass of the Earth, this is only about 0.05 percent of the sun’s total mass.
But our sun is only 1 to 2 percent the size of the supernova now being reported. And there are estimated to be 100 billion such stars in the Milky Way galaxy, and ten trillion such galaxies in the universe.
And our God made all of that.
A path to triumphant courage
Nearly half the people in the US feel the coronavirus pandemic is harming their mental health. As the Washington Post notes, “If you’re scared, anxious, depressed, struggling to sleep through the night, or just on edge, you’re not alone.”
While COVID-19 is now the number one cause of death per day in the US, heart disease still kills 1,773 people every day and cancer causes 1,641 deaths a day.
In other words, there’s a lot to worry about. But there’s a way of dealing courageously and triumphantly with life on this broken planet, a source of strength and hope that is available to every child of God.
And we celebrated it just two days ago.
“Eternal life is the gift of God”
Christians around the world announced on Easter Sunday that Jesus is “risen indeed.” The grief of watching his execution and burial on Good Friday pales into the glorious sunrise of his resurrection from the grave on the third day.
Now the risen Christ wants to infuse us with this same resurrection power by the Spirit who indwells all Christians (1 Corinthians 3:16). Tragically, many of us who believe in Easter Sunday live as though it is still Good Friday.
Here’s one reason why.
In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers states that God wants us to make the “moral decision to be identified with Jesus in his death.” This is another way of stating Paul’s call to be “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). It means that we are to die to everything and everyone but Jesus, to ask him to be Lord of every part of our lives.
As C. S. Lewis notes, nothing that has not died can be made alive again.
When I do this, according to Chambers, “then the Holy Spirit invades me. He takes charge of everything, my part is to walk in the light and to obey all that he reveals.” As a result, “God puts the holiness of his Son into me, and I belong to a new order spiritually.”
As Chambers explains, “Eternal life was the life which Jesus Christ exhibited on the human plane, and it is the same life, not a copy of it, which is manifested in our mortal flesh when we are born of God. Eternal life is not a gift from God, eternal life is the gift of God” (his emphasis).
He adds: “Eternal Life has nothing to do with time, it is the life which Jesus lived when he was down here. The only source of life is the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Locking the door on God
Here we find one of Satan’s most subtle strategies.
The Holy Spirit cannot empower that which is unholy. Chambers notes that he “cannot be located as a guest in a house” because “he invades everything.” However, we think we can make bargains with him, keeping part of us for us. As C. S. Lewis says, we are like taxpayers who pay our taxes but hope there will be money left over to do with as we wish.
Satan is pleased with this deception, because it keeps us believing (wrongly) that we don’t need to do more business with God than is convenient for us. We think we can have rooms in our lives that are off-limits to the Spirit while serving him in the rooms that are open to him. We can go into the “church” room or the “prayer” room or the “morning devotional” room where we can meet him and serve with him, but we can then go into other rooms and lock the door behind us.
But we cannot bargain with the God of the universe. He will not accommodate his holiness to our prideful rebellion any more than an oncologist would allow a malignant tumor to remain in our body. She knows that cancer anywhere can become cancer everywhere.
Two transformative questions
Here’s the amazing good news: a post-Easter spiritual life is possible in which the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead physically will raise every part of us from the dead spiritually. He will cleanse every room and use every dimension of our lives for God’s glory and the world’s great good.
To your Lord, the largest supernova humans have ever seen is but a tiny pinprick of light. And ten thousand millennia after the last star in this fallen universe is only a distant memory, your eternal life with your Father will have only begun.
Is there a room in your house that is closed to his omniscient grace today?
Is there a fear or worry you would like to put into his omnipotent hands right now?
NOTE: I have two complimentary ebooks to give you today.
Very recently, I wrote Biblical Insight to Tough Questions: Coronavirus Special Edition to answer seven challenging questions about this pandemic.
Months ago, I wrote Biblical Insight to Tough Questions: Vol. 5, and it was scheduled to release today—long before any of us knew how the pandemic would upend our world. Since I know so many may be experiencing financial hardship or uncertainty, we wanted to make an ebook version of that available to you as well.
However, we are also releasing Vol. 5 in print, which you may request here in return for a donation amount of your choosing.
As I’ve written elsewhere, “The more we are socially distanced from others, the more we have time to draw closer to our Lord.”
I pray that these new resources help you do just that.
Publication date: April 14, 2020
Photo courtesy: ©GettyImages/StockPhotosArt
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
For more from the Denison Forum, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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