When I was in quarantine, it was dangerous for me to go outside during the day. My neighbors knew my condition–and they tried to be considerate—but they had to live too. When I’d stick my nose out my door, it seemed there was always a ditch being burned or a lawn being mowed. Since I couldn’t always go out during the day, I took to wandering by night. At 2 a.m., the road in front of my house was deserted, and I could walk to my heart’s content. The pitch dark of deep night became my time of freedom.
Everything is quiet late at night, and the stars are spectacular. Since I wasn’t in danger of being run over, I’d walk down the middle of the road with my face tipped up toward the sky and look at the constellations. I’d always been interested in astronomy, but I’d never had the time to study it. Now, I had all the time in the world. I learned the names of stars and memorized facts concerning them. With my telescope, I found nebulas and watched moons orbiting the planets. Stargazing was something I enjoyed. However, something I did not enjoy was the stress that seemed to define my existence.
One night as I walked down the dark lonely road, all of my worries and fears rose up to haunt me. As my footsteps echoed against the pavement, I began rehashing all of my problems. I didn’t bother looking up at the stars–my eyes were glued to the shadowy outlines of my tennis shoes. I felt old and worn out. I felt exhausted. Life simply wasn’t fun anymore.
As I contemplated all my gripes and lined them mentally up in a neat little row, I heard God’s soft, gentle voice deep in my spirit. It wasn’t audible, but it was powerful. He simply said, “Which lights are the brightest?”
I cocked an eyebrow and looked around. God’s question didn’t make much sense, but I was willing to play along. After all, it wasn’t like I had anything better to do. I surveyed the dark countryside, spotting the yard lights down by the barn and the yard lights speckling my neighbors’ properties. I finally decided that the yard light up on the hill was the brightest.
Even as my answer formed in my brain, God spoke again. “Look up.”
I stopped and looked up at the stars. It was a clear night, and I could see the Milky Way galaxy spiraling in an elegant swoop. Shaking my head, I mumbled in a grumpy voice, “The yard light on the hill is brighter.”
Even as I spoke, I felt God smile. A warm peace ran through my body. God said one simple word, “Really?”
I blinked and looked back up at the stars. Even though they were tiny specks, I knew they were much larger than a light bulb. I was looking at them with the wrong perspective. As I continued thinking, I started to connect the dots. The things that I was so worried about, were they just like the yard light up on the hill? The yard light looked bright because I was close to it, but I could easily hold it in my hand. I couldn’t hold a star if I tried.
As I continued walking, I began to ponder my nice, orderly, lined-up gripes. Were they really as incredibly important as I was making them out to be? Would I even remember what they were a few years down the road? Maybe my focus was wrong. Maybe I needed to turn my attention to things that really mattered. As I kicked a pebble down the road, I sighed and whispered, “But what really matters?”
The answer came back softly and gently in my spirit. God said simply, “Me.”
“I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained…O Lord our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth” Psalm 8:3, 9