Saturday, April 12, 2008

Black Holes

My son pointed out an article related to black holes and the Internet. Scientists at the University of Washington's Hubble web site have charted a map of the Earth color-coded as to the intensity of duration of these black holes.

You know the drill - you are diligently typing some profound thoughts when all of a sudden either your screen freezes with that hourglass icon that just goes on and on OR a sudden power glitch blinks off power and you lose all your great thoughts OR you accidentally hit just the right wrong key to suddenly lose all the work you've done and not saved. It's one of the MOST frustrating things that can happen to any writer!

According to this news article in the science section on, these black holes might be attributed to an Internet server momentarily going down or a wireless network cutting out. Another cause might be a "cyber black hole." Research by computer science graduate student Ethan Katz-Bassett at the University of Washington and his faculty advisor Arvind Krishnamurthy has resulted in a program designed to search for these "strange Internet gaps." The result is a graph of the entire Earth and where these glitches (black holes) occur. Their hope is that this data will help Internet service providers track specific network problems and learn better how to deal with them. These computer scientists also hope to improve Internet consistency. After all, we are all increasingly dependant on the Internet for processing and disseminating information. Fine-tuning the system will help us all be more efficient in using the Internet. An additional benefit is that perhaps someone will eventually discover the vast black hole where all this valuable and "brilliant" thinking has vanished and be able to retrieve it once again.

There is another black hole unrelated to the Internet. It's a black hole of the heart! It is where many, many people live (or at least exist)! It's a very scary place where days pass slowly and nights pass even more slowly. It's almost like continuing to live after "flat-lining" on an ekg. The colors of this black hole are mostly unrelieved black with perhaps a little gray or deep blue.

Many famous people have lived in this black hole. Pablo Picasso painted through his black hole experience and expressed his pain in his art works. Others who have struggled in the black hole of depression are: Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Charles Spurgeon, William Cowper, missionary David Brainerd, the great preacher Jonathan Edwards and many others. William Cowper - who wrote some wonderful hymns in the midst of his pain - described his own black hole in terms that resonate in my own heart: "Behind a frowning providence, God hides a smiling face." (Hymn, "God Moves in A Mysterious Way") John Piper, the great Reformed Baptist preacher of our generation, wrote of some of these men in his book, The Swans Are Not Silent, Vol. 2.

Depression can get a choke-hold on its victim. The causes of depression may come from physical, mental, emotional or spiritual origins. The symptoms and results of living in depression are also all over the map of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual parts of life.

Depression is actually almost drowning in down feelings and focusing only on those feelings. Those feelings drive the depressed person to desperate desires to run away, to sit and cry, to commit suicide, to go back to bed and pull the covers up tightly, to avoid family and friends and to simply check out of life in any meaningful way. It is virtually impossible to set goals and accomplish motivational tasks when life seems to be only darkness.

A practical cure for depression is to learn another way to live - not in the pit of one's feelings but rather grounded in God's truth! Hebrews 1:1 describes faith as "being certain of what we do not feel." Only God can bring that kind of certain faith to a heart so desperately in need of God's restoring love! It's important to measure this new kind of living in baby steps and over days rather than hours.

In the games of "Red Light, Green Light" or "Mother, May I?" - two options for actions are taking baby steps or giant steps. There are no giant steps through depression, and it's unrealistic to even think so. There are, however, baby steps as God begins to work His restoring grace deeply into the black hole of a heart desperately in need of restoration! This is something only God can do!

Sometimes He uses someone who has "been there and done that" to come alongside and offer a helping hand and loving heart but, in the end, it is a work God does. His promise is "to comfort us in any trouble." He also promises to bring that comfort through others who have also found that same comfort. Read 2 Corinthians 1:4. It is God's faithful promise to anyone living in the black holes of life!

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