I feel the need… the NEED for SPEED!
Who doesn’t know this iconic line? It’s so good! Our love of going fast is why we have movies like Top Gun, but also movies like the Fast and the Furious series. It’s such a rush! But at what speed are we going “fast”?
First of all, speed is how much distance you travel over a certain period of time. So when I’m running 6 miles per hour, that seems extremely fast (and exhausting), but if I were driving in a car, 6mph would seem very slow. On a highway, driving 80 or 90mph would seem fast, but race car drivers go about 200mph on their tracks. Those fighter jets in Top Gun can fly at speeds over 1500mph!
All of the speeds mentioned above are flexible. Like, (when not pregnant) I CAN run 6mph, but most of the time I’m moving at a speed of closer to 2.5-3mph. My car CAN get up over 80mph, but most of the time I’m driving at a speed of about 40mph. So, if I asked you, what is the speed of my car? You’d say, “It depends.” The same goes for the “Speed of Dani” or the “Speed of a Fighter Jet”.
This concept of physics makes sense to me, then I got farther along in school and was told that the speed of light does not depend on anything. It is a constant. What? Well, technically, light travels slower when it is going through materials like glass, but when in a vacuum, the speed of light (or any massless particle) will always be 299,792,458 meters per second or ~671 million miles per hour.
Anything that has mass will never be able to reach that speed of light. As you can see in the graph below, anything with mass will get closer and closer to the speed of light, c, but it never reaches it. Instead, the relativistic mass will grow infinitely before it ever reaches that speed. “Relativistic mass” is something that requires much more than a blog to explain… but the point I’m trying to make still stands. Anything with mass will never be able to travel as fast as light. It can get close, but it will never do it.
This week I was thinking of this concept because of a Blake Shelton song. Yes, I know, how could a country song possibly make me think of complex physics? Stay with me here.
This song, called “Bible Verse”, is about a struggling Christian. The singer is trying; he wants to do better and get to heaven, but all he sees are his failures. The song starts off with the words,
“I never worn a halo
Don't suppose I ever will
As far as saving me goes
It's a battle up a hill”
It is a heart-breaking song about desiring closeness to God, but just never quite getting there. He transitions into the chorus with the words,
“But I keep praying for the day
That I can open up that good book
And Heaven don't look
Like it's out of reach."
This Christian struggle is so familiar. It is exactly like the physics of the speed of light, no matter how hard we try, we will never reach perfection. No one will. This can often become an EXTREMELY frustrating truth, especially when we hear the gospel verse:
"You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
- Matthew 5:48
We are human. We fail, often. On this earth, we will never be perfect. So why would Jesus challenge us to be more than we are capable of? Because we are to strive for more. We are to be continually working on ourselves and trying to get as close to that barrier as we possibly can, just like the singer of the song. He keeps that hope.
For those of us who can keep that hope, we are told that it will pay off. We are told that heaven is waiting for us and that heaven is perfection. Just as things with mass will never reach the speed of light, we on earth will never reach perfection, BUT beyond this earth perfection is attainable. Hope is the key. Our God is the God of hope. It can be overwhelming when we fail, when we fall. We must keep trying. Even when we see the impossibility of perfection here on earth, we must remember the perfection of heaven. We must remember the end goal even when “heaven looks out of reach.”
"May God, the source of hope, fill you with joy and peace through your faith in Him. Then you will overflow with hope by the power of the holy spirit."
I pray that you remember this line from Romans, and, through the holy spirit, you will overflow with hope!