“Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”

Daniel 12:3

I remember the first (and only) time in my life when I saw the Milky Way, from earth, with my bare eyes. It was during a church retreat, in some tiny Louisiana town, in the middle of the woods surrounding the retreat center. 

We just finished the evening session and everyone was still antsy and overflowing with energy, so we all decided to go on a walk. It was so dark in the woods but someone in our group convinced us not to turn on our phone’s flashlights because “it would be worth it.” 

And while we were stumbling through the woods, tripping over every single branch we couldn’t see, following the person in front of us only by the sound of their feet, we suddenly came across a clearing in the middle of the woods where the trees finally weren’t crowding us for space, and we all looked up.

It was absolutely indescribable. I’ve only seen pictures of the Milky Way, and what I saw in person that night wasn’t as clear or as detailed, but it was a thousand times more amazing. We were all so quiet. I think we were all trying to take it in — this giant brushstroke of stars and color cutting across the entire sky, so big we could barely take it all in.

I think Daniel 12 takes us through a similar journey. It continues from Daniel 11, a long and detailed prophecy about the events that would happen through the end of time. It talks about kings attacking, and empires falling, and the violence, plundering, and captivity that would permeate that entire era. But then — verse 3 — the wise and those who turn to righteousness will shine forever and ever. In the end of days, this is their Milky Way, their thing that makes the whole journey worth it.

During the end times, when God is bringing people back to life, the wise and righteous will be part of the first resurrection and will be changed when they rise to meet Jesus at His return. What an awesome thing — to be resurrected and reunited with Christ. So, walk with Christ — even when you stumble or can’t see — because He’s taking us through a journey that’s even better than seeing the Milky Way.

PRAYER: God, I want to walk with you my whole life. Teach me to follow You. Teach me to trust in You, even when I can’t see what’s ahead of me. Teach me to honor and obey You. I rejoice in Your victory, over sin and death in my life and for all eternity. Thank You, Lord. Amen.