Deep in the twilight realms of the ocean glides a mysterious, marvelous monstrosity. Up to 43 feet long (though lengths of up to 59 feet have been reported) with eyes the size of dinner plates, its bouquet of pulsing, writhing tentacles contains hundreds of suction cup suckers through which it tastes its prey. Its only known enemy is the sperm whale, and the only bone in its body is its large black beak. Throughout the centuries it has been called many things, including the legendary kraken. Today it is called the giant squid.
It is a thermonuclear reactor of almost unimaginable size and fury, and in its fiery, churning depths is contained all of the possibility for life in the universe. This raging, consuming, vibrant factory is held together only by its own gravity, which also sets its planets orbiting around it at a dizzying yet consistent rate of speed. Speaking of gravity, it is also bound through this invisible force to thousands of its fellow burning behemoths in a continual dance, slowly traversing the light years in a glorious blaze. If you were to pull back a ways, you would say that this conglomerate looked like a brilliant pinwheel blowing in the breeze of a cool summer’s night. That is because they are both fractals – or spirals, to be exact. Just like a sunflower. Or a nautilus shell. And that very fact should seem like a jarring impossibility to us. After all, how could our sun be a part of a structure that is in any way at all like a seashell?
When was the last time you stopped to consider the glory of God?
My family recently had a new addition join us. Or, rather, three new additions. Apparently it’s legal to own jellyfish as pets. And furthermore, there are websites that actually sell them. So we are now the proud parents of three baby moon jellyfish. Jellyfish are entrancing to watch. To observe their delicate waltz through the water is to see poetry in motion. Their bodies are completely symmetrical, and their waving, delicate tentacles are as captivating as the web of thin white veins that usher out from the central hub of horseshoes that make up their stomach. They are completely alien, and absolutely, wistfully marvelous.
One of the definitions of glory is splendor and brightness. It is not just praise or worship, though it is both of those things. It is magnificence. It is brilliance. Merriam-Webster says it can mean “a great beauty or splendor.” It could also be a ring or spot of light, such as a halo. A light in the darkness.(1)
The great inventor and thinker Elon Musk (creator of the Tesla line of vehicles, and also someone who looks scarily like the great actor John Barrowman) recently said that there is a one in a billion chance that this is the base reality, and that this is almost certainly, essentially, a created simulation of reality. (2) This is a mind-blowing proposition, but what is even more mind-blowing is the fact that this is basically the same thing Christianity has been saying for thousands of years. And all accounts of people who have travelled to heaven and returned have said that it feels more real, more solid, more breathtaking than this world. But what is at the center of this truer reality? A being of impossible brilliance and beauty and dignity and overwhelming love. A being who knows all things. A being who judges all things. A being who created all things.
A being for which the term “being” is almost insultingly debased.
At the center of existence is God. And God is Wonder. He is awesome and awful and awe (all of which mean basically the same thing, by the way.) God is glorious. And all of the glory we see in the natural realm around us is only an extension of his creative force. For all the wonder and glory of this world and this universe, it only serves to mask the glory that is so much greater.
People in ancient times feared to see God, because they thought that they were surely going to die when they did. And, honestly, maybe they were on to something. After all, how could our heart help but burst if we got any more than a taste, a mere glimmer, of this glorious All? And how could we, if we had even an idea of who God actually was, not fall to our knees in worship?
Ah, but of course there’s also a problem with this. How could we, in any sense, relate to this Cosmic Glory? If God were so far outside of our knowing, how could we ever possibly relate with or truly love such an entity?
That’s why God took all of his incomprehensible glory and packed it into one human being: his son, Jesus. God in the flesh. Which, if you really think about it, is an even bigger impossibility than a seashell being like a galaxy. But he was human. He suffered with us. He dined with us. He died with us. And in so doing, he showed us who God actually was: love. Because, in the end, he sacrificed himself so that all of our failings, all of the terrible things we had done, could be wiped away. So that we could be clean, and know a better way to live. And what is more glorious than that?
“Throughout our history God has spoken to our ancestors by his prophets in many different ways. The revelation he gave them was only a fragment at a time, building one truth upon another. But to us living in these last days, God now speaks to us openly in the language of a Son, the appointed Heir of everything, for through him God created the panorama of all things and all time.
“The Son is the dazzling radiance of God’s splendor, the exact expression of God’s true nature – his mirror image! He holds the universe together and expands it by the power of his spoken word. He accomplished for us the complete cleansing of sins, and then took his seat on the throne at the right hand of the majestic One.”(3)
God’s glory can be seen in a seashell. It can be seen in a star. But it can be seen most in you, in me, and in the incomparable, glorious gift of redemption we have been given through Jesus Christ, the son of the majestic One.
I’m sorry it’s been so long since I posted last. I’m trying to get back up to a regular schedule. But, in the meantime, I hope this impacted your imagination and stirred your soul. I know it did mine. Please share this if you liked it, and let me know what you thought in the comments. If you liked this, by the way, you’d also love my book, “The Complete Cancer Diaries.” It’s the story of my journey through cancer, and it’s also packed with hope, joy, peace, and more wonder. You can get it on Amazon right here. God bless you, and I’ll talk to you soon!