By Mary Lambrecht, M.S. LMFT
“Look up. See the designs of God’s hands. The Bear, Orion, the Pleiades. Trace the constellations with your finger…
See how the tall cottonwoods wear stars in their bare branches,
Fancy in the dancing black night.”
Take a deep breath and look and look and look.
Are you dizzy with the looking?”
These lines from the poem “All Through the Night” by Nancy White Carlstrom cast a reminder to us of just how big, how powerful, how creative, God is. Reverand Rob Renfroe states; “And that God—the God who is big enough to speak all of that into existence…says you matter to Him. He says I matter to Him.” (Good News Magazine, November/December 2010).
We matter so much to God that He sent His Son as a baby born of Mary, as the Root, the Offspring of David, the Bright Morning Star, (Revelation 22:16) to comfort us in all trouble, to bring light to any personal darkness.
Even as a newborn babe sleeping in a feeding trough wrapped in strips of cloth, darkness and suffering stalked Him. Herod, determining to kill Jesus but under the pretense of wanting also to worship our Messiah, commissioned the wise men to find this Jesus, and then to report back to him His whereabouts. God picked not His mighty constellations, but one star to guide the wise men. And this one star guided them to Bethlehem. Scripture states they found the baby Jesus, and fell to their knees and worshiped Him. But “when it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.” (Matthew 2: 11-12).
From the moment of the manger, to snide rejections of Pharisees, to dozing disciples in Gethsemane’s pain, to the incalculable cruelty of the Cross, Jesus knew suffering. Because the same God who put the stars in their places deeply cared for each one of us, Jesus grew from a tiny babe in Bethlehem, to be a man. A man acquainted with sorrow.
Why do these truths matter for you, for me, today? They matter because Jesus suffered darkness on earth, for the purpose of bringing us out of darkness into light. He promises that if we believe Him, we will not remain in darkness (John 12:46). Light of the World and Bright Morning Star, Jesus illumines our personal darkness and shines the beacon of hope—eternal light and eternal life in God’s presence.
These words matter, because this same God who created the heavens called each one of us for a unique purpose here on earth. (Isaiah 42:6). Sometimes it’s easier to grasp our final purpose of Eternal Life, than it is to grasp or endure the “what on earth am I here for?” purpose. To this earthly question, and to the sorrows and trials that often beset it, He promises us in Isaiah 11:2:
His Spirit of Wisdom
His Spirit of Understanding
His Spirit of Counsel and Strength
His Spirit of Knowledge
And….Love. For God is Love (I John 4:16).
“In the pale light of a sliver moon we walk
out into the night.
Sssh. Be very quiet.
Listen to the sounds floating through the
Air like angel’s wings.
Do you feel tiny under the great celestial roof of the earth?
Yes, we are small but never alone, and
Dressed in glory like the stars.
All our names are known.
In the darkness under the blanket of the Night sky
We, all creatures, great and small, slip
Softly into shelter, sing sweetly into sleep.
Praise God all through the night.”
Excerpts from “All Through the Night” by Nancy White Carlstrom (Wheaton Magazine, Autumn 2010).