Tonight I saw the sky like I haven’t seen it in a long time. I’m away from the city and way out in the country. At home our altitude is a shade over 300 feet. Tonight I am sitting at 2800 feet and some change. The only sound I hear is the river outside the house I’m in and, unfortunately, the tinnitus ringing in my ears. But the ringing doesn’t drown out the incredible quiet of my environment. It is still here. When you combine the quiet and the bitter cold of the air with the remarkable sky you end up with humbleness and gratefulness.
It would take effort for me to not feel small under the stars that I am seeing tonight. It would be dismissive to not embrace this smallness that I feel when I stand under the canopy of stars. No, this remarkable display draws me in and the cold air cannot overwhelm the warmth in my heart as I ponder the magnitude of this remarkable creation. And to think I can enjoy it all, almost as if it was left here for me to experience. Of course it wasn’t created for me alone, but I feel connected to the Creator as I stand there. I know the Creator….personally. He’s my friend and remarkably He considers me his friend. As I look up tonight I am drawn into His overwhelming presence. It makes me think of Psalm 19, which reads
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
Maybe this is why I am an avid outdoorsman. It shows God to me. It displays His intricacies, His creativity, His firm grasp on astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, art, humanity, and His compelling love for this world (John 3:16). Being outdoors reminds me of God, but it enthralls me to know that I am to be with Him forever to enjoy and to worship. The joy that the stars bring will not end in the morning. Why does my heart respond this way? Perhaps it is true what C.S. Lewis says, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” Tonight is a taste of that world to come.
Creation is personal to me: the sounds, the smells, the textures, and the beauty. It is personal because I know the One who created it. Nothing else makes sense without Him. I love how He displays Himself when I am outside. I love Him. I am satisfied in Him. In the words of Thomas Ken (1674) “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” I saw the sky tonight like I haven’t seen it in a long time. I praise God for that.