As the days grow shorter I notice more and more stars in the sky when I head out for my morning walk. Some mornings are crisp and clear and the stars are breathtaking. They seem to be everywhere with hardly a gap between them. Other mornings, though, are overcast or hazy with dust, and I see fewer, if any, stars.
I grew up in the rural mountains of north Jordan where few lights blocked out the view of the stars. If we really wanted to see the stars clearly, we just headed to the next hill and climbed up to a high point on the ruins of an old crusader castle. Although it is now a tourist attraction with controlled access, at the time we could go to the castle whenever we pleased, and the view was phenomenal.
Living in the city for a while as an adult made me forget just how many stars are visible. Doug and I walked outside and looked at the stars several times while living in the Memphis area and even there the sight was amazing. But when we moved out to the middle of farmland, we could hardly believe the view. So many more stars were visible! Even after two years of life here, we still cannot seem to get enough of the vast, bright night sky.
The thing about the stars is that they have always been there. They were not missing when we lived in the city. They were just obscured by the perpetual glow of city life. The plentiful light made life so easy for us. It allowed us to see right around us clearly and function well even at night. It symbolized the reality that everything we needed was in reach. In having everything at our fingertips, however, we had to sacrifice one of the ways God reminds us of His creativity, vastness, and power.
I am thankful that God is not so limited that His display of power can be diminished by city lights. He reveals Himself in so many other ways, and He frequently did just that while He had us living in the city. I wonder sometimes, though, if I block Him out sometimes by my actions just like those city lights blocked the stars. His Word says that nothing can separate me from His love, but there are times when my actions can separate me from seeing Him. Sometimes I need to take a trip to the country spiritually, walking away from the things that prevent my eyes from seeing His brilliance. In other areas I need to make a permanent spiritual move, leaving the city once and for all to rid myself of distractions that limit my vision.
The stars are always there, whether we can see them or not. God is always there as well. But we will only see the tiniest smidgen of Him if we are not willing to walk away from the city lights every now and then and view Him in the clarity of simplicity.