Man is incapable of grasping the enormity of our own corner of the universe called the Milky Way Galaxy, which spans 100,000 light years from end to end. We can only wrap our minds around its size to a very limited extent when we can catch a glimpse into its size by reducing its size through comparisons. It is vast and unsearchable to the nth degree. Likewise, there is one great big galaxy of space between those who have "accepted Christ" and His claims and provisions, and those who have entered into His kingdom through the narrow gate of unconditional surrender to the Conquering King. If you are one of the former, then you see no difference between the two. If you are one of the latter, you know exactly what I'm saying.
The stars of the night sky, though we know them to be as much as 2.5 million light years away, can seem at times almost near enough to reach out and touch. However, that is an illusion of epic proportions. So too, is the illusion that we are not on the opposite sides of the galaxy, spiritually speaking, from those who have never entered by that narrow gate, and it is an illusion forced upon our finite minds by physical proximity and common religious terms, phrases and expressions. Our minds refuse to grasp what our spirits try to teach us, and that is the enormity of space that separates us from them.
When we see any movement, our optimism sees it as movement that will bring us together at last. However, what we detect as hopeful progress actually brings us no closer together than stars on the opposite sides of the galaxy. Even traveling at the speed of light, we know that 100,000 years renders that convergence virtually impossible.
Though it is painful and lonely, let us be content to walk alone, not looking hopefully at every tiny step, every encouraging word from those who draw near to Him with their lips, having hearts that are far from Him. Baby steps of progress will never span the great gulf between us. It will take for them nothing less than it took for us, and that is not progress, but translation. They must be "translated from the power of darkness into the kingdom of His Dear Son." They must be translated across that great gulf, that enormous galaxy that cannot be spanned by human progress, that galaxy that separates us from friends or family with whom we may at times worship, side by side, and hand in hand.
Since the Kingdom of Heaven is not in word, words are an obsolete indicator of the space between us, just as miles are an obsolete unit of measurement, when talking about our galaxy. We need a different unit of measurement in order for our minds to grasp what our spirits already know, and life has a way of providing those units. Circumstances can often give us a revelation into our true position relative to others, just as certain illustrations or comparisons can give us a glimpse into the enormity of outer space. What appeared so near, now declares itself to be infinitely far. "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" The intimation is, "No", of course, but agreement in word means very little. Can two walk together except their lives be in agreement? That's the test. Sooner or later, life will declare what words fail to convey, and that is the millions of light years that separate us from those to whom we often reach in hope.
They appeared so near. Their words declared our unity. But, alas, once again, God "stretched out the heavens" through life circumstances, and those who seemed an arm-length away, suddenly appeared to us, not as fellow pilgrims, but as "wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness" (Jude 13).
"And those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the sky; and those who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever" (Dan. 12:3).