The picture was a game-changer. Not because it was particularly shocking or detailed or beautiful or eye-catching. In fact, it looked like just a hazy ring of pale orange light on a black background. The general blurriness and simplicity made it look like a strange subject to draw the world’s attention. But as I read on, I realized that this photo was a history-maker. Scientists were proclaiming that this was the very first photo of a black hole. Black holes have captured the imagination of scientists for decades, ever since physicists had applied Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity to describe them. Don’t rely on me to describe what they are or how they could form, but according to the article I was reading, physicists and astronomers had been vying for a closer look at this phenomenon for many years. And now they were claiming to have a photo of one in real-life. I don’t have enough knowledge to discuss all the implications of these theories--whether black holes are what astronomers claim they are and how they fit into the biblical view of creation that we hold as Christians. But I was fascinated by the fact that one blurry, pale, seemingly unremarkable sight could set off a flurry of excitement across the web and beyond. History is in the making one way or the other. Sometimes the significance of a picture isn’t found in its visible quality, but in what it represents. In this case, that blurry dot represents the determined efforts of 200 researchers and technicians who worked on the project, and it represents the hopes, theorizing, and plans of hundreds of scientists prior to this.
In Matthew 13:31, 32, it says, “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” And again in Matthew 17:20, He says, “So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” In these passages, Jesus calls attention to seeds as an illustration of having faith in a powerful God. When we see a promise in Scripture, we can stake our confidence in that promise because it points us to the bigger reality of God’s infinite power, wisdom, and love. We don’t have to worry about God’s promises turning up empty because fulfilling them was just too hard. We’re putting our trust in the Sovereign of the universe! Just as that unassuming, plain photo represents a glorious discovery for the astronomy community, a tiny seed also captures our wonder because we know it represents the future growth of a huge, strong, fruitful tree. And in the same way, we can stand amazed at the beautiful promises God gives us because we know they represent the immeasurable power of God at work. They’re not just idle fables, they are God’s vow to act on behalf of His people.