Thursday, January 31, 2008

Look to the Stars

We live in troubled and uncertain times. That's been true for so long that it's become a cliche. Today we worry about terrorism, global warming, and hurricanes. A generation ago everyone was afraid of Communism and nuclear war. The generation before that had the Great Depression and World War II... and so on back to the day Adam and Eve left the Garden. "The days are evil" (Eph. 5:16, NIV), wrote St. Paul in the time of the Roman Empire. "The faithful have vanished from among men" (Ps. 12:1), lamented David centuries before Paul. Always, it seems, those who try to live godly lives are tormented by the knowledge that the world is far from righteous--and that real catastrophe could strike any day.

But it doesn't take as big a specter as worldwide holocaust to make a life troubled and uncertain. It can be something on a much smaller scale: a diagnosis of cancer, the sudden death of a spouse, the loss of a job. Such things, which go unnoticed by all but the handful of people who are directly affected by them, can seem like the end of the world to that handful.

When life's uncertainty is shoving itself straight into our faces, it helps if we can put things in perspective by meditating on the One Who never changes--and also on the less changeable things He has created. Generations age and die, but so far the sun still rises every morning, birds still sing in the springtime, and the ocean continues to wash the seashore. The bereaved and hurting have always felt comfort and consolation through nature, as have soldiers at war, expatriates, and the imprisoned and persecuted.

Despite secular predictions of a world covered in concrete, I like to think that up to the coming of the new, perfected heavens and earth, God will make sure some remnant of his natural creation is always available to humanity, through which we can contemplate His power and love.

When all around seems dark
And you can hardly find a soul
On earth who seems worth your trusting,
When your light is going dim
And everything seems out of control:

Raise your head up;
Look to the God of heaven;
Look to the One
Who promised He would never leave you alone:
Look to the stars,
Tiny lights in the darkness,
Often hid in earth's dazzle,
Yet above all our troubles
They shine on.

When the whole world seems mad
And you can hardly find a soul
On earth who seems uncorrupted,
When your mind spins wildly on
And everything seems out of control:

Lift up your eyes;
Look to the great Creator;
Look to the One
Who promised He would never leave you alone:
Look to the sea:
Few have seen what's beneath it;
Some never see the coastline,
Yet above most of this planet
It rolls on.

When the whole world seems lost
And you can hardly find a soul
On earth who shows signs of caring,
When your heart is growing faint
And everything seems out of control:

Open your heart;
Look to the God of mercy;
Look to the One
Who promised He would never leave you alone:
Think of the wind:
No human eye can see it;
No human hand can hold it,
Yet through earth's trials and battles
It blows on.

Pray to the Lord:
Praise Father, Son, and Spirit:
Look to the One
Who promised He would never leave you alone:
Look to our God:
And when your life is ended,
When no one else can hold you,
He will remain beside to
Bring you home.

1 comment:

Elaine Williams said...

Being a widow of four years, I agree with your statement about the loss of a spouse being one thing that can make a life troubled and uncertain. And yes, it does many times go unnoticed by others who are not directly involved in the day to day struggle. Thank you for writing this. Elaine
http://www.ajourneywelltaken.com