We are all about to begin a new year. Our top New Year’s resolution should be to work on our relationship with God and if necessary make any corrections. God is always close by but sometimes we drift away from Him. Let me share a story with you to illuminate the constancy of God.
Many years ago, acting on the recommendation of my doctor after developing chronic lower back pain, I purchased a hot tub. It helped and soon I was using this hot tub religiously, pun intended. I frequently found my inspiration for each week’s 4thdayletter during my early morning (usually 4am) soak in my hot tub. This was my location for daily prayer. I would often gaze at God’s creation of the stars in the night sky and observe the familiar constellations as I prayed. The brightness of the stars seemed amplified here in the mountains because there are no city lights to block out the beauty of these stars.You see, up and until July of last year when I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I used the hot tub daily. After my diagnosis it was recommended that I should minimize or eliminate the use of my hot tub. So acting on this advice I drained it completely and left it empty for the first time since purchasing it 12 years ago. There it sat on my back porch unused. Not only did my back lose out but my morning prayer routine was disrupted as well. This past summer compelled by the return of some back pain, I decided to refill the hot tub.When I filled it, I was disappointed to discover that it leaked like a sieve. Apparently even though I had drained the tub, there was still water in the pipes. I had not winterized it correctly and this caused the pipes to freeze and crack during the winter.
Having lost the old hot tub to my own mistake, my wife and I decided to get a new hot tub for our Christmas present for each other this year. Now for the first time in over a year I was back in the hot tub for my early morning prayer ritual. As I gazed once again at the familiar stars thoughts began to flow into my mind as did two songs about stars. First these lyrics from the song Do You Hear What I Hear came to my mind. Click hereto watch and listen.Said the night wind to the little lamb,“Do you see what I see?Way up in the sky, little lamb,Do you see what I see?A star, a star, dancing in the nightWith a tail as big as a kite,With a tail as big as a kite.I realized that I had been missing these stars for over a year. I pondered for a moment what that bright star might have looked like that led the shepherds to baby Jesus lying in the manger. The stars all looked familiar to me. They looked the same. There it was, the Big Dipper, in the same place in the sky as I last remembered it. But wait…were these stars the same? As I entertained this question another song flooded into mind. Here are a few of the lyrics from the powerful song STARS from the play Les Miserables. Click hereto watch and listen.StarsIn your multitudesScarce to be countedFilling the darknessWith order and lightYou are the sentinelsSilent and sureKeeping watch in the nightKeeping watch in the nightYou know your place in the skyYou hold your course and your aimAnd each in your seasonReturns and returnsAnd is always the sameThe song concludes with these Lyrics:And if you fall as Lucifer fellYou fall in flame!And so it must be, for so it is writtenOn the doorway to paradiseThat those who falter and those who fallMust pay the price!
Boy did Javert get things wrong. To start with he said the stars were always the same. They are not. According to one Astronomer I researched, in just our Milky Way galaxy alone there are about 100 billion stars. It is estimated that there are about 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe. The research went on to say that about 100 billion stars are being born and are dying each year, which corresponds to about 275 million per day, in the whole observable universe.There are only approximately 6,000 stars that are visible with the naked eye. In the Milky Way, we get on average about one new star per year, and one star dying each year. Our own sun will one day die. Stars usually exist for about 10 billion years. Scientists estimate that our sun is 5 billion years old and it has about 5 billion more years to go.As I said, Javert was wrong because even the stars do not always return and return and they are not always the same. Further his concluding lyrics are completely mistaken. When we sin and fall we don’t have to fall in flame like Lucifer did. Thanks to our loving God, His Son Jesus Christ paid the price for our own sins.
God, not the stars, is the one who is dependable. He alone is the one who holds His course and His aim. He is the one who is there for every season of life and the one who is always the same. God is the alpha and omega. He is the same yesterday, today and always. He is the Great I AM that shines through the darkness.If we are experiencing a feeling of distance or separation between us and God we must realize we are the ones who have moved. Let’s make this the year to return to Him. In this year of mercy, let’s rejoice in the knowledge that Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins, by giving His very life for us.In John 1:3-5we read this: “What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” My friends, Jesus is that dependable light in our dark world.
Do You Hear What I Hear concludes with these lyrics which amplify what John wrote above:The Child, the Child sleeping in the nightHe will bring us goodness and light,He will bring us goodness and lightAs we prepare for 2016, and as we reflect back on 2015 we realize that much has changed. Friends and loved ones have passed away, new ones were born, and we too have changed. The world we live in has changed and grown older. Time endlessly moves on. There is just one who is always the same and that is our merciful loving God. We should all strive to draw closer to Him this year.I invite you one day soon to peer into the darkness of the night sky illuminated only by the stars. As you ponder the thought that even the stars that you see will one day fade away, give thanks to God for He will always be the same. While doing this I also invite you to answer this question, “Do you see what I see?”For the Kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever, amen.