Stargazing

“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name.” (Isaiah 40:25-26 NIV)

Encountering this verse in a recent morning devotion, my mind took me back to a vividly memorable night from my childhood. As the third of five children, there were times when I felt invisible to my parents.

Deciding to test if they would even miss me, one evening I wandered out to the large field behind our house intending to see how long it would take before anyone would even notice I was gone and call out for me.

As I lay down on that hard Georgia soil and gazed up, I was awestruck by one of the most breathtaking scenes I had ever witnessed. In all my years, I cannot remember a more resplendent night sky.

Those feelings of invisibility were immediately swallowed up in the celestial spectacle above me. This experience was perhaps my first conscious realization of an invisible and awesome Creator who had just made himself visible to me.

How quickly my problems seemed so small compared to the vastness of the universe on display. Little did I know at the time just how vast that universe is. The countless stars I could see that night are only a fraction of the 400 billion stars inhabiting our galaxy. Not only that, but we now know that ours is only one of 100 billion other galaxies God created, each of which swarms with hundreds of billions of celestial bodies.

As I reflect on that experience today, I’m reminded of these words penned by David:

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him.” (Psalm 8:3-4 NIV)

No matter how mindful my parents were of me that night, God certainly was, revealing just a glimpse of his glory. But it would still be years before I realized that this unfathomable Creator desired a personal relationship with me.

So the next time you begin to feel overwhelmed by life or powerless, invisible, and insignificant in the midst of it all, step outside on a clear night and look up. Gaze at the stars and consider that the One who hung each one and calls them each by name is mindful of you. He even sent his Son to die that he might have a relationship with you for all eternity.

Immerse yourself in that truth and those feelings of insignificance should quickly fade as they did for me that memorable Georgia night over fifty years ago.

A sense of the universe, a sense of the all, the nostalgia which seizes us when confronted by nature, beauty, music – these seem to be an expectation and awareness of a Great Presence.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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