From our hilly green-belted community, on a clear night like tonight, I could easily count a gazillion stars in the sky. In stark contrast though, the night sky in LA was far different than tonight's. For a long time, to me stars did not exist.
And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them. --Matthew 5:1-2
Smog, pollution, and a barrage of bright city lights were a constant blanket over the sky. They robbed me of the stars, so in my young mind beautiful moon-lit nights were fantasy. I had seen these radiant skies in paintings and books. For instance, I could vividly remember the final scene in the movie ET--that of ET and Elliot flying across the luminous night on a bicycle. However, unlike Elliot, I was not so privileged as to experience the sky saturated with such a host of stars until the summer of '87.
Aside from these superficial experiences, it wasn't until I turned 11 years old that the Woodcraft Rangers (an after school program that served disadvantaged kids) deemed me old enough to go up into the mountains and stay overnight at Stanley Ranch camp. Until that summer, I had always grouped star-gazing into the same category as unicorns, pots of gold at the ends of rainbows, and tooth fairies. After that, the eagerly sought after privilege only came around once a year for this young city kid.
Imagine never having wished on comets or connected twinkling stars like strands of diamonds on a necklace in the sky, or the child who is never dwarfed by the astronomical silver dollar shining against the dark sky. Consider the child who is never quickened by the opulence of the Milky Way, or that has never with outstretched hand traced the frames of the Big and Little Dipper under the heavens. I longed to know that dreamland.
Associating star-gazing in the same category as mythical creatures sounds tragic, but how often do we approach biblical principals from this same disadvantaged frame of reference. We know that God is awesome because we've read about His works in the bible. However, if that knowledge is purely one-dimensional, it never transcends the stuff of fairy tales in our lives.
To put it differently, the only way we can truly experience God's fullness is when we walk with Him. We miss out on God's redemptive works all around us if we remain in the crowd. When life begins to press in on you, perhaps God will lead you to a solitary place to manifest His Word. The next time you are in a crowd, consider it an opportunity to ascend into the mountains to gaze among His brilliance and discover God's heart for ministry.