I suppose I may have actually gone for a year or two without looking at them. I really can’t remember. I may have.
It’s not that I ever stopped believing in them. I just never saw them, so they almost didn’t matter. To me, they didn’t matter.
It’s funny when I actually write the words. No, not funny. Stupid. And, sad. Mostly sad.
I looked at them tonight. The stars, I’m talking about. I walked out into the winter night, just as the temperature showed thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit, and simply stood there staring at the spectacular light show in the sky.
Do you think the light show was good at the last concert you attended? I don’t get to many rock concerts, but they’ve changed a little over the years. Besides the obvious increase in volume, I mean.
The light arrays on the stage are astonishing in their scope, utilizing everything from LEDs to old-style incandescent spotlights to pyrotechnics, all operated by one man sitting at a control board, or perhaps even pre-programmed and actuated by computer software at the proper time.
The lights move up and down or side-to-side, oscillating and flashing all the while. They don’t just highlight the musicians on stage, either. Some are aimed at the audience and, from time to time, shine so brilliantly in their eyes that the band members onstage are not even visible at all.
Still. The gaudiness and brilliance of those stage lights fade into a dim memory as the attentive human wanders under the night sky.
I stood in my shirt sleeves tonight, the glory of the heavens spread out above me, and, for a few moments, forgot how cold it was. The blue-black canopy of space overhead was overwhelmed by the constellations and galaxies, and the night sky was alive with light. Pure, brilliant, untouched Creator’s power.
For the better part of twenty years, the Lovely Lady and I lived in a house which was part of a commercial zone in our little town. We could often see the big orb of a moon as it rose on the eastern horizon, or hung like a giant smile overhead. And, the sun had no problem showing its face day after sweltering day through the long humid summers.
But, to walk out the door and look up at the stars in the sky was never as easy as that. The man-made lights shone garishly in our eyes like so many rock-concert LEDs obscuring the main act, the stars, if you will, overhead.
It’s easy, when you don’t often see the stars, to forget how spectacular that light show is. Over a period of years, one might be forgiven if it’s not on their top ten list of the most important things in creation to take time for.
It would be foolish, however, to decide that the stars are no longer shining in the sky. Just because we don’t take the time, or make the effort, no one would aver that they don’t exist anymore.
I wonder. Do you suppose any of those stars gave up on me in the years when I wasn’t able to walk out under the dome of the heavens in the middle of winter and be blown away by their splendor? Maybe just one called it quits.
The faithful in northern Greece were encouraged to stay just that—faithful—in the letter written to them by the apostle Paul. He described them as stars that shone in the sky, in the midst of a damaged and deceived generation. (Philippians 2:15)
Nearly every day, I read of someone else who is advancing the claim that our time—those of us who follow Christ—is ended. We’re not needed anymore; not relevant to our culture.
I could have made the same claim during all those years of living under the halogen glare of parking lot and street lights on poles. Who needs stars when you have automatic lights that shine on demand?
The stars are irrelevant!
And yet somehow, they’re still shining. Still in their constellations. Still wheeling across the cosmos in synchronization with every other ball of burning gas set into motion all those centuries ago by our Creator.
And our sun, dwarf star that it is in a galaxy of giants, ushers in each new day, and season, and year, just as if it is as relevant today as it was on the day when the stars sang together and the angels shouted for joy at the marvelous creative power of our God. (Job 38:7)
Somehow, I think I’ll keep shining too.
No one may be looking at the little light right now. There may never be a single voice that testifies to the power that makes my light visible.
It doesn’t matter. He made us to shine.
Not like the fake, gaudy light of the stage array, nor even like the brilliant, confusing glare of Gideon’s lamps in the enemy camp.
But, simply with the bright, steady light of His love and grace, we shine.
Lighting the way to Him. For a world blinded by too many lights that illuminate nothing at all, we are lighting the path to Him.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
Waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
(from The Peace of Wild Things ~ Wendell Berry ~ American farmer, author, and poet)
Look up into the heavens.
Who created all the stars?
He brings them out like an army, one after another,
calling each by its name.
Because of his great power and incomparable strength,
not a single one is missing.
(Isaiah 40:26 ~ NLT ~ Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2018. All Rights Reserved.