The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
(A repeat from December 9, 2010. Hard to believe it's been ten years!)
"Through the Mist, To the Stars"
Frances and I returned home from Maumelle, Arkansas this morning after visiting with our friend, Jay Grelen.
We needed to be in Mobile by mid morning today, so we left Maumelle at 11:00 p.m. last night. The first 75 miles of the journey proved to be uneventful, and an excellent night for driving. The weather was clear and very cold, and we encountered little traffic. We settled in for a 9 hour drive, unsuspecting of the challenge and the blessing that awaited us.
First, the challenge. Somewhere in southern Arkansas, we drove into an icy fog unlike anything we had ever seen. Visibility diminished to less than 10 feet as the swirling mist almost precluded seeing beyond the hood of the car. Had it been possible, we would have pulled over and waited until the weather improved. We drove on narrow highways, however, with little room on the shoulder of the roads. Parking would have been dangerous because the near zero visibility could have caused an oncoming driver to come upon us with almost no forewarning. To make things more challenging, our GPS seemed to be affected by the atmospheric conditions. Several times, the device either lost its signal, or went haywire with false readings. We missed a turn at one point and had to backtrack to find our way. The icily foggy conditions continued for nearly 100 miles, and we rarely were able to move at speeds more than 50 mph.
Then, as suddenly as we drove into the icy shroud, we drove out of it. I cannot describe the relief we felt. I loosened my grip on the wheel as we set forth to freely make our way home. Again, I've never driven in such conditions, and I hope to never do so again. The moment by moment challenge necessitated keeping my eyes wide open for any object that might instantly appear and cause me to hit the brakes to avoid a collision.
After a few minutes of enjoying what became again a clear, cold, gorgeous night, Frances noticed through the windshield "how beautiful the stars are." Since I was driving, I couldn't really see the scene she described. "I'd almost like to stop the car and get out to look at them, " I commented. "If it weren't so cold, I'd agree with you" responded Frances.
I drove on for several minutes thinking about the stars, and then decided that this was an opportunity we couldn't miss. Frances and I live in the ambient light of a city where stargazing allows for very little real vision of the heavens. In the middle of what seemed like nowhere, however, our headlights provided the only illumination for miles around. I pulled over to the side of the road, and we exited the car into the subfreezing temperatures and the quiet loneliness of a deserted country highway.
Then we looked up. There really aren't words for the sight we beheld. I'm sure that many of you have seen it. Innumerable stars literally dusted the sky. Unlike our city night scenes where you can easily count the pinpoints of visible light, the darkness of a secluded country road unveiled a vision of what must have been hundreds of thousands of stars. They filled the sky almost like the mist we had just driven through. The scene was overwhelming, and as tears streamed down our faces, we knew that God had chosen to bless us with an experience of His glory and wonder we will never forget.
"He made the stars also" (Genesis 1:16). Seeming almost like an afterthought, Genesis tells us that the luminaries of the night sky serve as the handiwork of the Christ who declared, "I am the light of the world" (John 9:5). Believers know this, of course, but appreciation of the glorious wonder requires at least some experience to even begin to fully appreciate. Interestingly, darkness is also required to give us greater awareness of the stars' majesty and Maker. The blacker the night, the brighter the stars. For Frances and I last night, a long drive through a foggy, icy mist prepared a backdrop for the gallery our Heavenly Father invited us to behold. I think our enjoyment of the starscene was all the greater because of the challenge we faced in the mist. Indeed, we would have driven a thousand miles through that fog to have experienced our five minutes of beholding a dark, but brilliantly shining sky that so declared the glory of God...
"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament their handiwork."
"He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names" (Psalm 147:4).
Weekly Memory Verse
The Lord looketh on the heart.
(I Samuel 16:7)