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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Starry Starry Night

I wrote this on 11 November 2006

It is about understanding the greatness of God and His personal love for us

Isaiah 40: 25-26:
"To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

Last month our oldest son Nic took a trip into the Sinai Desert to climb Mt Sinai. He camped at the top to watch the sunrise from Mt Sinai. When I asked Nic about the trip he said he was amazed by the night sky. The number of stars, the magnificence of the Milky Way galaxy, and all the shooting stars he saw. He was amazed at the number of stars he could see in the desert sky compared to the stars visible in Cairo sky.

As I thought about Nic's experience I thought of Isaiah 40:25-26. I thought of how Isaiah tells us to look at the heavens and see God. I thought of how God met Mosses on Mt Sinai. I thought of how Nic saw God from Mt Sinai. I thought of how Nic saw so many stars in the desert compared to the city sky. And it hit me, the stars did not become brighter or change in any way, the man made lights were removed.

I thought of how the bright lights of our cities block the magnificence of the starry nights.
I thought of how the bright lights of our life, whether it be our job, our accomplishments, our material wealth, even our blessings, can shine so bright we can’t see the magnificence of our God.
I thought of how God leads us at times to a desert in order for us to see the His magnificence.
I thought that just because we can’t see the stars, doesn’t mean they are not there. The stars continue to hang in the night sky, shouting out the name of the creator.
I thought when God calls us He does not shout above the noise in our life.
I thought of how we hear the voice of God so clearly when we are in a trial, when difficulty quiets our life. Like the hearing test I take every year, you have to sit in a sound proof booth to hear those insidious beeps. Sometimes a trial is nothing more then a sound proof booth to block out the noise of our life.
I thought of all the noises and lights in my life that blocked me from knowing God. Work, money, status/rank, personal comfort and self-satisfaction, even my relationship with Andrea, all expertly cloaked in the idea that I deserve them. Until my blessings from God become my god. And slowly God’s voice is drowned out, slowly the magnificence of the heavens no longer shine above the artificial lights of my life.

I thought of how cancer has turned off every light of my own making, turned down the volume of all my self-created noise.
I thought of how magnificent the stars shine in the darkness of this desert.
I thought of how clear I hear God in the silence of this trial.
I thought how many times had I missed God because of the busyness of my life. We tend to see someone in a trial and think about the priorities of our own life and we may even vow to change, but unless we turn off the lights, or get away from the bright lights of mans accomplishments in this modern world, we will fail to see the God we serve. God can do all things, but he will not get in a shouting contest with our misplaced priorities. He knows that when we come to Him in silence, we are ready to listen.
I thought God never shines brighter than in the darkness of a trial.

I thought Nic would have never seen the beauty of that starry sky without looking up.
I thought when we are in the darkest time of a trial; unless we turn our eyes upward we will miss the greatness of our God.
I thought the darker the trial, the deeper we go into the desert, the further we get away from the city lights the more magnificent the night sky, the more of God we see.
I thought He is always there, always shinning in His fullness.

Andrea has always loved to see the heavens. Every time there was an astrological event, either a meteor shower in Alamogordo, the northern lights in Alaska, or comet passing by the earth in North Carolina, she would wake us all up make hot chocolate, gather the blankets and drive until the city lights faded and the sky reveled its beauty. A beauty that was always there, every night every star shines. And we would lay on our backs either on the ground of the White sand desert, or the hood of the car, wrapped in blankets in the cold Alaska night, and wonder at the greatness of the sky. Immediately you seem very small, and things of this life seemed very insignificant in comparison to the play acted out before us in the night sky. I hate that I tend to forget the wonder of what I saw, and allow the busyness of this world to block out the magnificent display that goes on every day.

Over time I have learned to appreciate the darkness of this trial and the closeness I feel with God. Not that I want to or could stay in the dark times. I do not mean to belittle how hard and difficult it has been at times, and there comes a time when I needed the sun to rise and the season to change. But I have been comforted when the days are so hard, and I'm fighting back grief and sadness. Grief that my best friend is so sick. Sadness to see someone you love suffer daily.

Loosing a spouse is never easy, the moment of separating what God has joined into one flesh cannot and really should not be easy and without grief. But cancer adds the dimension of suffering along the way. And that is hard.

I'm Comforted today and everyday I'm reminded I serve the creator of the heavens. How magnificent is He to have hung the stars? Can we even write the words that could capture all He is? I do not have the ability to form the alphabet into words to capture the greatness of God. I can not nor can my mind begin to understand all God is. All I can say is He is indescribable. On the other side of His greatness and majesty is his personal love for us as if you and I are the only ones He created. How individual is He to hear my prayers and care about my struggles. How great is His love to meet me when I cry out? To reach out to me on the darkest of nights and whisper,

"Look up and see all I can do. Look up and see how small cancer is to me."

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