So I just spent the last few days in Michigan, hanging out with some of my closest friends. Most of it was just as it had been when I moved three years ago, but many of the people are just completely different than the people I used to know. It was a little upsetting to hear of all the people who are now big partiers, especially the ones that I would never have expected it from. But I will tell you one thing that never changes: God's faithfulness and His love for us.
One of my favorite things about Michigan isn't the people; i can still catch up with them on Facebook and on the phone (not great, but better than nothing). It's not the beauty of the landscapes; Texas is just as beautiful. But no matter where in Texas I have gone, I have never seen a starry night sky as breathtaking as what I would see in Michigan every night. Even in the middle of Big Bend National Park, hundreds of miles away from the closest city, the stars weren't nearly as impressive as the Michigan sky, and living in Houston and College Station, the skies are typically quite dim, with very few stars. Seeing the stars is one of the things I look forward to most when going to Michigan. And every summer I have been to Michigan since I moved I have seen the stars, purely by the faithfulness of God.
Last summer I was only up for about a week, and the entire time it had been rainy and cloudy, thus no stars. But the night before I went to the city to see family, I was at a friend's house. Ethan, Karl, John, and I were sitting in a hot tub outside around midnight, when we saw the clouds just roll back from the sky, revealing God's glory which had been hidden the entire time. Now this year it had been rainy and cloudy again just before I came up, and the forecast predicted rain all weekend. My friend, other Karl, had been talking to my former boss about the weather, when Karl told him that it was going to be clear skies on Friday, when I was to go to his house for a bonfire. He said this completely on faith, and his faith, and my prayers, were rewarded with a perfectly clear night sky the whole night.
So why do I tell you this? Two reasons: to prove that God knows our hearts, that he wants us to be joyful, and that everything that we see proclaim the glory of God.
Well, first I need to say that the reason for our faith in Christ in the first place is that we have been promised the most incredible gift in the entire world: after our time on this earth is through, we will spend an eternity with our God and Father, who loves us more deeply than we could ever know. Hebrews 12:1-3 - "And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." We run to Jesus because he is the only way to receive life; all other paths lead to death. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, so that we might receive the same infinite joy that awaits us in Heaven. But this joy is not just something that we hope for when we die, we can have a glimpse of this joy right now! 1 Thessalonians 4:16 tells us to "be joyful always." This is not a promise, but a command: we are to rejoice in all we do every day of our lives. That being said, God also knows our hearts, what we truly desire (see Psalm 139:23, Luke 16:15). God wants us to be joyful, and he knows what exactly will make us rejoice in His name, and God will give us what we desire. For me, one of the things that I rejoice in highly is seeing the stars, and God made way for me to see the stars every time I went to Michigan, regardless of the forecast. He wanted me to spend time at night lost in His glory, which I am so pleased to do.
But the other reason for this post is that the stars, the heavens, and mountains and seas, they all give glory to the beauty of God. Here are some incredible pictures, take a moment at just be lost in the beauty of this world.
I honestly don't know how anyone can look at something like that and not see God's handprint all over it. But at least I am not alone in this. Romans 1:20 - "For since the creation of this world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." This idea really is a post all of itself, but I just wanted to touch on it now, because it is so huge. God is beautiful, so it makes sense that everything he created is beautiful, and that everything we see just screams of the glory of God.