He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Psalm 147:4
“Will you PLEASE come inside now, stargazer!”- was a refrain I would hear often when I was little. I used to spend hours sat in the field behind my house, looking at the stars. A born planner and a born dreamer, I would spend my time doing a bit of both. I was planning my escape (I had rather a lot to escape from) and I was dreaming BIG – one day I was going to reach the stars!
“He also made the stars.” Genesis 1-14:16
For many people, when they contemplate space they are reminded of their insignificance: how small they are in comparison with the vastness of the universe. I never used to feel that way, during all those hours that I sat in the starlight. Instead it felt like God had turned the lights on, just for me! I felt intrinsically comforted that the same God who created the stars had also created me. Eventually, I gave up stargazing as I also gave up on God as well, for a time at least. At some point, I forgot to look up and I forgot to look within: I stopped looking for the starlight, for God’s light. And the world grew dark for me.
“Twinkle Twinkle, little star! Do you know how loved you are?”
We used to sing that refrain to our children when they were very little and it came back to me as I sat down to write this, and it made me wonder….
Do you know how loved you are? Do you know how much God loves you?
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Somebody once told me it is easier to give love than to receive it. Now I know that this is not true of everyone, but it was true for me.
It can be so very easy to think of God, if you think of him at all, as a distant, remote figure; as far away from us as the stars in the sky and just as unreachable. It can be hard to imagine that the creator of those very stars would be in anyway relatable to you.
It can, perhaps, be even harder to imagine the kind of divine love that John 3.16 refers to: “God so loved the world that he gave his only son”. Through his life and sacrifice, Jesus showed us the depths of God’s love for us. On the cross, we find a single act of love so great that it can be hard to fathom sometimes, and even harder to feel worthy of such love.
I sit here now, filled with the same wonder I used to feel when I sat in the starlight, and I feel filled with the same sense of awe when I consider – not only God’s love for me – but also the fact that I have encountered that love in the most personal way.
I think now of Jesus, not as a remote, distant figure, but instead as the closest of friends. You see, God wants you to know him; he wants a personal relationship with you!
The same God who created the stars, created you.
And, for me, coming to know Jesus, to develop that personal relationship with Him, has utterly transformed my life. We are told that God loves us, but until we open our hearts to accepting that love we are unable to understand that truth fully. By accepting Jesus into my heart and being filled with the Holy Spirit, I was finally able to accept God’s love for me. And by that love, and in that love, I have been saved; I have been freed, and I have been healed.
I’ve been transformed in love.
In the starlight
When I came to learn about space in school, I was fascinated, completely gripped by the subject. When I came to learn about how my starlight came to be – what the stars were made of – it did nothing to lessen my wonder, in fact, it only enhanced it.
Stars produce light through nuclear reactions; these reactions make the stars so hot they glow. In short, the starlight comes from fire and, from that fire, energy and light is given out. The light emitted from those stars lights up the sky and, as a child, that light did much to banish the darker parts of my childhood.
When I think of the starlight now – from my adult perspective and, more importantly, from my perspective of faith – this explanation of how the stars emit light could, very easily, be an explanation of what it feels like to be filled with God’s love.
The starlight shines down on me but God’s light shines in me. In fact, I’ve been set ablaze with God’s love; I’ve been set on fire with it and, with that fire, I’ve been pulled from the darkness and my life has been filled with light.
I’m still a dreamer and I’m still a planner and, even now, I still want to reach the stars one day. However, even when I was little, I never dreamed quite big enough to think that I would reach God one day. Of course, I didn’t know then that he was already reaching out to me!