We don’t think much about shields these days. I mean, when’s the last time you were in a sword fight or hunkered down in a castle somewhere, defending yourself against the onslaught of barbarian hordes?
Shields are so medieval and low tech, aren’t they? No GPS, no fancy weapons or special laser-guided missiles emit from them. Can’t see through them, they’re kind of clunky, hard to carry around and, well, they tend to be shiny if they’re not made of wood. Metallic shields reflect the sun. Not so good if you’re in a legion of troops trying to covertly sneak up on your enemy, whether by night or by day.
But did you know the earth has a shield? It does. If the earth was a Tootsie Pop and you eventually licked your way to the center (ew and ow), you’d find a molten core of iron, with something not unlike the consistency of a Tootsie Roll, but just ever-so-slightly warmer. Probably wouldn’t want to bite into it.
For that giant ball of molten iron is the source of the earth’s magnetism and provides the inhabitants of earth a magnetic force field – a shield – from the sun’s intense solar winds as well as protection against deadly cosmic rays from space that daily bombard our planet like legions of swarming locusts.
This image is the Astronomy Picture of the Day today. Looks like a shield, doesn’t it? It could belong to a superhero or something, like a special, top-secret shield of Flash or Captain America perhaps.
But in actuality it’s a picture of the earth enveloped in gamma rays. It’s an actual image from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope; a telescope that photographs the most active form of light known to man.
The earth is actually largest source of gamma rays, according to the folks at NASA. The brightness of the gamma rays is as a result of the earth being constantly bombarded by harmful (and quite deadly) cosmic rays from space.
How about that? When the earth is under attack, it shines brightly and the most active form of light surrounds us. We can’t see gamma rays with the naked eye, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on, of course.
For a more technical explanation of what you’re seeing here, you can click HERE.
For some inspiration, read what David wrote centuries ago about his “shield”.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to Him.”
The Lord Jesus is our defense, our shield. He keeps the earth from harmful cosmic rays, turbulent solar winds and all kinds of other frightful stuff, like comets. He also keeps you. He watches over you and is closer than your breathing.
There’s a wonderful bit of encouragement to be found in a 13th century poem called The Owl and the Nightingale. It is simply this.
“When the disaster is greatest, the remedy is closest”
We often give up just at the point when help is closest. If you’re at wit’s end, struggling with what seems like an insurmountable obstacle or problem, know that help is on the way. In fact, know that it is nearer than you think.
Or, even more miraculous perhaps, the very thing you fear might actually be the source of your rescue.
Remember the disciples in the boat? There were a couple of storms where Jesus was right there with them, and in both tempests, He calmed the storm.
And their hearts.
If the Lord Jesus protects the earth from deadly cosmic darts, he too can protect you. Take up the shield of faith, brothers and sister, so that you may be able to quench the fiery darts of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16).
Like gamma rays, our light will shine most brightly when we’re under duress. For when we are weak, He is strong.
Remember, the meek will inherit the earth. If you’re feeling a bit meek today, let your light shine. Let Jesus be your defense, your shield. Let Him fight the battle.
Let Him light up your world and give you the earth as a gift.
Turns out we ought to be thinking a lot more about shields than we probably have been, then, huh? Not as medieval or as “low tech” as we might’ve originally thought.
Have you brought yours into battle today? It’s not to late. Have faith, little one. Take up your shield and be blessed.