Photo by Elliott Brennan on Unsplash
Slipping out the back door, I move off the rough patio bricks onto the cool grass. The night air is refreshing as I tilt my head up – there you are. The clouds have moved over the lake for the night, exposing a twinkling backdrop. The giddy little girl in me comes alive. Heaven’s curtain pulled back – what a privilege to behold, this nightly view of glory that boggles my senses. Time seems to both pause and race as I gaze at splendor light years away from where I’m standing. My eyes trace the arm and cup of the Big Dipper – what wonders God has wrought.
Remember Abraham’s exchange with the Lord under the stars? For this man of old, this speckled ceiling had no competition with street lamps or city lights. The Lord spoke His promise to Abraham – that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. (see Genesis 15:1-6) Maybe like many of us, Abraham needed a visual illustration to help him understand a reality that both blew him away and grounded his faith. Perhaps the Lord wanted him to recognize the magnitude of the promise as well as the grandeur of the One giving the promise. You can trust Me Abraham.
The One who created this unspeakable glory is majestic in Name and matchless in character. Who is like You God? The One who created the stars and knows their number is trustworthy and unchanging. But He is also infinite and almighty; His works are beyond human figuring, His ways stretch past human understanding.
The One who spoke the heavens into existence, who formed every galaxy and placed every celestial body we can and cannot see is not limited by space, He is not bound by time. Looking at the stars moves me to remember my God is infinite and eternal.
Like Job, I’m left dumbfounded as the Lord packs 4 chapters with rhetorical statements magnifying who He is.
‘Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?’ (Job 38:31-33)
Let Me tell you who I Am. In these moments, our human words falter; only worship can rise to her feet.
Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it? (Job 38:12)
Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness? Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this? (Job 38:17-18)
Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens when the dust becomes hard and the clods of earth stick together? (Job 38:37)
The poetic cadence of these verses moves me to rejoice in the glory of God. Their truth brings me to my knees in awe. Indeed, it is a mysterious and marvelous combination.
Throughout Scripture, we encounter truths that blow our minds, that remind us how grand and infinite our God is – like the verses we just read! We also come face to face with the truth of our Triune God’s relational nature, that He loves us, that in Jesus we are redeemed and saved from our sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)
This whirlwind of truth stuns and settles me as I gaze at the stars. Perhaps at times though, the vast night sky looms overs us like an abyss, amplifying God’s distance from us. His timelessness, His immutability, His perfection overwhelm us, making us question how Someone so great could ever come near to us, much less remain in us by His Holy Spirit. The One who directs the dawn and can shake the earth like a rug, who shares His glory with no other – is He really near to us, is He really loving?
As these questions simmer, I find such a comforting faith companion in David who wrote about and wrestled with the paradoxical truths and complex nature of our God. He begins Psalm 8, Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! A few verses following – perhaps while he too is gazing at the stars – he writes,
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
The majesty and holiness of God astonishes David – there is no one like my God – but these truths do not leave him disbelieving God’s loving care. Psalm 18 opens with
I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
The Creator and Sustainer of the universe is the same God in whom David rests and finds refuge! He does not stand aloof in the heavens; yes, He transcends time, but He draws close to us. He orders the paths of the planets and plans the steps of our lives. I find myself often echoing David’s words in these psalms, his ponderings as well as his declarations of praise. With plenty of doubts and honest questions that fill the book of Psalms, David still worships his almighty Creator with awe and rests in the loving care of his Lord.
When the starry hosts wondrously remind us of God’s greatness, when the night sky is only a dismal abyss over our heads, may we recall this to mind – that the Son of God left the heavens to enter our dark world, our hopeless humanity to save us, to live in us, and to shine His marvelous light through us.
May the wonder and majesty of who God is send shivers down our spine and calm the deepest places of our hearts. May we remember and rejoice in this truth – the Maker of the stars has come near to us.
In this month’s reading corner, I want to let you all know of a special sale for my book, Sweet Dependence! Several copies from the first rounds of printing have minor imperfections, and I am selling them for $5 (plus shipping). If you have not already purchased Sweet Dependence, this is a great opportunity to pick up a copy at a low price!
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to purchase a copy, and I will mail it to you! (These discounted copies are not available online.) If you are local, please contact me and I’d be happy to meet you in person.
Payments can be made through Venmo or PayPal.
Grace and peace to you all!