Have you ever felt yourself longing for what you cannot see? The northern lights made this happen to me.
My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.Psalm 119:20
Longing for a Glimpse of the Northern Lights
“I see some green over there,” my daughter assured me.
“I think that’s just the light at the airstrip,” I told her. “We need to drive further away from town to see the northern lights.”
“Are you sure? I see something green,” she said.
I shrugged. “Let’s drive over towards the lakes. The parking lot doesn’t have any lights.”
After two failed attempts during previous winter trips to Alaska, I had finally done my research. No moon would dim the display. The aurora borealis app on my phone predicted high activity within the hour. I’d even researched the best settings for my camera. But after driving around for 30 minutes, we’d seen nothing.
We pulled into the parking lot, and I braved the sub-zero temperatures to set up my tripod and camera. My daughter stayed in the truck with the heater running. She poked her head out to check on me. “See, it’s getting greener, right there,” she pointed towards a line of towering trees.
“I see a grey cloud,” I said. “I’ll take some test shots to make sure I have my camera settings right. Then I’ll hop in and get warm.”
I focused my camera and used the remote to take a 30-second exposure. When I pulled my glove off so I could bring up the picture, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
As clear as day, a green light swept across the northern sky. “You’re right! Those ARE the Northern Lights!”
What Enables Us to See?
For the next forty minutes, we enjoyed a light show. At one point, the lights danced across the sky. Most of the time, I saw grey and faint green, while my daughter could clearly see the green. The camera saw brilliant greens, pinks, and blues.
Why could the camera (and my daughter) see what I couldn’t? The camera sensor, unlike human eyes (especially mine), has the same sensitivity all the time. Humans have less sensitivity to colors in low light.
Many times, I’ve grappled with verses in the Bible. Ones that don’t make sense and seem contradictory. Longing for understanding, I’ll read the verse in multiple translations and search in the Blue Letter Bible app for original meanings. But if I haven’t asked the Holy Spirit to be with me as I study, my efforts prove useless.
While I’m longing for understanding, I go about it with the wrong equipment. My eyes alone can’t take in the wonders of the aurora borealis. I need the camera sensor’s powers to enhance and reveal the light. Likewise, I need the Holy Spirit to enhance and reveal scriptures to me.
What are you longing for in your relationship with God?