Fireflies and Galaxies

July 14, 2010 — 5 Comments

A little while ago I had a pretty cool experience. It was late on a Wednesday night and I had finished cleaning up after our high school youth group. I came home, and as I got out of my car I realized that it was still pretty warm outside. The summer days can get rather humid here in Iowa so the nights can stay warmer than I’d often like.

In a contemplative mood, I debated a thought for a while as I came inside to my dark house (Sara had already gone to bed). Sitting in my back porch for some time, I decided to go for it. So at about midnight on a weeknight, I opened up my garage door and started my motorcycle.

In pursuit of the elusive goal of physical fitness, I’ve been trying to ride my mountain bike a lot and I’ve created a 12-mile square that I like to ride. In Iowa, bike routes are squares, not loops.

This square quickly takes me out of town to the Northeast. At the furthest point from my house, I pulled off the deserted road to an even more deserted dirt road. Taking my helmet off and letting my eyes adjust, I was amazed by what I saw.

I knew that there would be less light pollution than in town, and I knew that it was a clear night so I expected to see many stars. I was correct in that assumption. The Milky Way could be seen rending the night sky above me. However, I was thrown for a loop because I appeared to be seeing constellations above and below the horizon!


Thousands of these little guys - everywhere.


I’ve seen fireflies before. Even though I was raised in California I’ve lived in the East Coast where fireflies are a dime a dozen. Tonight was different, though. Surrounded by corn and soybean fields, I was able to see for miles in every direction. Because of this, I was able to see thousands of fireflies all around me. Just as one would cease to glow, three more would light up around it.

The effect was astounding. My entire world was twinkling, like I was an astronaut floating in space. I saw twinkling lights all around me – up, down, left, and right. With the numerous stars in the sky and the countless lightning bugs in the fields, I was awestruck.

Awe became wonder and wonder faded into humility until humility gave way to conviction.

I stood alone in the middle of an empty field at 12:30am, surrounded by insects and constellations.

And I was convicted.

All I could think about was the description of God in Revelation 1 that says he holds seven stars in his right hand or Job 38 that says God can bind the beautiful Pleiades and loose the cord of Orion. And at the same time God has power over all things in creation.

Now I know all this. I have for a long time. We’ve all grown up and learned about the creation account in Genesis. Yeah, yeah, God created everything. God knows how many people and bugs and stars exist. But that night I experienced it.

And I was convicted.

So often I forget how powerful God is. So often I try to do everything on my own strength. So often I forget that God wants to do incredible things with his people. So often I forget his promise in James 5:16-18 that says the prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective. The same God that created all I saw around me that night wants to manifest himself in my life, and in your life.

And even still I find it hard to pray on a regular basis. I doubt that God will really answer my prayers or do something great in my life.

Why is that?

What holds us back in fully trusting God? Why is it hard for us to take God at his word? What can we do to act upon his promises?

Leave a comment about your own experiences with God’s power and love, and with prayer. What roadblocks do you encounter when trying to trust God? Have you found anything to help you more fully trust his promises?


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I'm a pastor, writer, speaker, husband, father, and follower of Christ, to name a few titles. You can find my contact information in my About page.
  • Bev Prescott

    I have looked toward the skies….pitch black and twinkling, hues of orange and red that only God can create, and all shades of blue with the billowing whites of clouds. I am always amazed of these views….one would think its just the sky…but it is so much more than that….I think what an amazing world I live in, how vast, wondrous, mysterious and I think “God”. I have goose bumps as my brain shows me these memories.
    We are so tiny in comparison…..God is so mighty…yet gentle.
    I realize I need to pray more. I get caught up in life. I will catch myself having conversations with God while driving the car or putting on my makeup, I can talk to him. Yet, I struggle in trusting Him. Why is that? This Glorious Being, yet I cannot put all my trust into Him who has created such beauty.
    I am amazed how I was lead to your blog and here I am replying.
    Thank you God for taking my hand and bringing me here.

  • Cornish Meemo

    Since prayer is talking to God, and there is so much to say, I find that I could spend my entire life chatting with Him. But because we humans covet the hours in our days, we pull back at that notion. We’re too busy! Sometimes it’s easier to not pray at all and just trust that God knows how we’re feeling and what we’re thinking.

    I have learned something about prayer, however, by being a parent to grown children. I have learned how excited God feels when we “ring him up” and “call him.” When we take that extra effort and carve time out of our personal schedules to talk with Him, to tell Him what we’ve been doing and how we’re feeling…to ask questions and listen for answers…to tell Him how much we miss and love Him and to thank Him for all He has done for us…God’s “fatherliness” kicks in and He responds. We feel His presence…His closeness. God blesses us all the time, but can we really bless Him? Sure, we can, and I want to!

  • GIB S.

    I’m reminded of God’s continusl, unending cycle when remembering chasing fireflies as a child as my children did, also, on our farm. How satisfying to shut off the noisy combine when finishing for “the day” early into the next day’s morning and hear the noise of silence envelope all around as I glsnced into the clear sky to see the milky way, falling stars and bright planets along with a few of the late season fireflies…all part of God’s good work. Now I wonder if I’ll be here to experience the Voyager’s mission, launched in 1977, having passed the terminal shock where solar winds travel at speeds of 700,000 to 1.5 million mph., expected to reach the heliopause, which is the outermost edge of the solar system in 2015. Beyond the solar system lies interstellar space, which scientists know little about. But why should they? God knows, is in charge and my faith belives this.

  • Too bad you didn’t take a camera! I think the tension between trusting God and our struggle with constant doubt is perfectly captured by a prayer in Frederick Buechner’s novel “Godric” (which is an incredibly good read): “Dear Jesu, teach me how to pray. … Dear Lord, were I in such a wise to pray, I’d have to have spider’s limbs for hands enough to stretch my need to thee. What can I tell thee thou dost not already know? What can I ask of thee thou wilt not give unasked if that’s thy will? Yet I must ask thee even so. … Didst thou, who saidst God’s eye is on the sparrow, cast thine eye on me?”

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