From: David Kabanje
Date: November 19, 2021
Subject: GMU from Andrew Smeal

Want to Shine? 



There is some good news and some bad news. I will start with the bad news first.


There is a famous story that took place during the era of the industrial revolution and the rise of factory work in the United States during 1916-1920. This true story took place in New Jersey, with some 70 women who were hired by factories to help create “glow in the dark” watches. The secret to this magical and seemingly surreal effect was radium, a highly radioactive element found on the periodic chart. Since radium was a relatively new discovery, it was advertised as a miracle cure for a variety of health problems. These women who worked diligently to paint the fine details on these watches, became intrigued by the effect this paint had on everything it touched. These women started to paint their nails, teeth, and eventually just rubbed it into their skin. These women were paid extremely well and were able to afford some of the most expensive dresses. Paired with this glow-in-the-dark secret potion, it produced an almost angelic look that was the envy and talk of everyone they came in contact with. These women famously became known as the “radium girls.” As amazing and cool as this may sound, this story has a nightmarish outcome. This radium made these women look healthy and vibrant temporarily, but it was slowly deteriorating their skin cells, their hair started to fall out, and many of them suffered from a deteriorating jaw. This very potion that produced so much fame and attention for them, was killing them slowly. I can see a close comparison with these women’s obsession with the magical effects of radium and the enticement of sin. Engaging in sin can sometimes make us feel powerful, more attractive to many around us, but prolonged exposure will eventually ruin us. This could be pride, selfishness, greed, lust, or other destructive desires.

There is a second story, in the Bible, that mentions a similar angelic and glowing appearance of Moses. This story takes place on the descent from Mt. Sinai after Moses had spent time in God’s presence (Exodus 34: 29-35). This is a contrastingly different picture than what we see in the first story. Although seemingly innocent at first, the radium-based paint’s destructive qualities were there all along, and its consumption was only perpetuated by pride. With Moses, we see that he personally was unaware of his radiating appearance but was noticeable to the Israelites. Another element of this story was Moses’ delivery of the Ten Commandments while his face was glowing with the presence of God. “When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he entered the Lord’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.” (Exodus 34:33-35, NIV). Moses’ secret to shining was literally spending time in God’s presence. God was the source!

The closer we come to God, the more we will “shine”. Jesus on the mount of transfiguration is another example of being raptured in the glory of God, causing Jesus to physically shine brightly. Adam and Eve before the fall were covered in God’s light. The closer we get to God, the more Christ-like qualities we will exhibit, and who knows, we may even shine physically. Stay true to God, spend time in His presence, and stay connected to the true source of light so that you too can shine. Shining with a light that will not lead to death and decay, but to eternal life!