The moon did a disappearing act on me recently.
As I sat eating breakfast, I could see the moon shining brightly through the window. It handily outshone the streetlights, which were still on at that pre-dawn hour.
But slowly, the moon grew dimmer and fainter, although it was still high in the sky.
What had happened to its luminosity?
Had the moon changed in some way?
No, the sun had simply come up!
The sun’s growing brilliance filled the morning sky, causing the moon to appear paler than before. Eventually, I could barely see the moon at all, even though it hadn’t set behind the horizon yet.
This puts me in mind of how we sometimes view our problems.
In the darkness of our difficulties, we often focus on what’s causing us pain. The source of our problems gets our attention, out-competing other factors in our lives.
But if we let the light of Jesus shine on our situation, the truth of His unending love for us can outshine the temporary nature of our problems. Our challenges appear dimmer in the light of His forgiveness, His care for us, and His promise of eternal life.
Is the “dark side” of the moon truly as dark as we think it is?
From Earth, we only see one side of our companion satellite. The moon is “tidally locked” with our planet, with the result that it always presents the same face to us.
Because we can’t see the side of the moon facing away from the Earth, we sometimes assume that it’s in perpetual darkness.
But this isn’t so. The “dark side” of the moon (which should more accurately be called the “far side”) gets just as much sunlight as the face we see. All sides of the moon receive the sun’s light equally in turn.
From the sun’s perspective, the moon doesn’t have a dark side at all.
It’s our perspective that throws us off and leads us to the wrong conclusion.
We can easily fall prey to misconceptions about our own lives, too. When we don’t have the right perspective, we can assume that things are darker than they really are.
Naomi in the Old Testament Book of Ruth certainly made this mistake.
“The footprints are still there,” the article began.
Whose footprints? And where?
The article was talking about the footprints of astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and the ten others who have walked on the moon.
Astonishingly, their footprints are still there. It’s been over 50 years since humans first walked on the lunar landscape, but the moon’s dusty surface is still marked with our historic bootprints.
How can this be?
After all, here on earth, footprints in the dirt can be washed away by rain days later. An imprint of a foot on a sandy beach might be erased in seconds by an incoming wave. Other people or vehicles can trample a footprint, cancelling it out.
But it’s different on the moon. The moon has no atmosphere, and therefore no breezes or rain to erode any footprints. Earth’s satellite also doesn’t get a lot of visitors, so no one else’s footprints or vehicle tracks have obscured those made half a century ago.
Scientists suggest that the lunar footprints of the astronauts might last a million years, maybe almost as long as the moon itself continues to exist.
That couldn’t happen here on earth. Or could it?
Are there footprints on earth that will last for millennia or eons, or even for eternity?
The footprints of Jesus will.
I’ll bet most of us have seen a rainbow at some time in our lives, but have you ever seen a moonbow?
Frankly, until recently I didn’t even know such a thing existed. Moonbows, also known as lunar rainbows, are rainbows which are produced by moonlight rather than by direct sunlight. As such, they’re usually fainter than regular rainbows, and may even appear white.
But moonbows are still evidence of the sun’s presence, because they’re created by reflected sunlight bouncing off the moon. They’re a very special reminder that the sun is still shining, even when we can’t see it.
Sometimes I think God puts believing friends in our lives to function as “moonbows” for us.