When I was a kid I had an Oldsmobile 88, a big car that held eight easily for drives out to Chestnut Ridge Park. Beer, football, flirting. On the way home, late at night, we would stop out in the country. grab a couple of blankets from the trunk, spread them out and lay down. The rush was better than drugs as we looked up at stars so thick and bright you thought they were as close as the leaves on chestnut trees. City kids never get to see the real night sky.
Being connected to God feels like those nights being cradled in a dark, clear sky filled with brilliant, breath-taking stars. The majesty and expanse brought a quiet awe and we felt our smallness. None of us were believers, but we believed something when we saw that expanse. Most of the time, the noise and brightness and bustle of the day hide the stars no matter how hard you squint up into the sky. I suppose that’s why He so often wandered off for an evening or a night alone. Why He advised us to go into our closets to pray. To come away from all the distractions.
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
the moon and the stars you set in place—
what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them? -Psalm 8:3-4
Like the setting sun, distracting cares, noise, and light from the day fade slowly. It’s not like a light switch that can go instantly from too bright to the clarity of the night sky. Gently our minds settle; our hearts find a new rhythm. And we see beauty, like that of a spectacular sunset. We have taken the time to glimpse His glory. Then too soon we pick up our blankets. We get back in the car sure we touched eternity. We smile awkwardly not knowing how to describe what just happened, and gladly return to “reality” as the familiar Jeff Beck or Melanie play on the eight track, the dash board lighting the car and headlights lighting the road.
Hunger for more. He will answer. We short circuit moving into His presence by rejoicing at the sunset and calling that enough. Lavishly invest time waiting on Him. Watch Him enter with golds and reds and streaming rays of light and wait still. He hasn’t fully manifested Himself. The door was just opening as He enters. Stay until the uncountable points of light hang before you.
“Only in returning to me
and resting in me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength…”