I love to look at the stars. As a young navigating officer in the Merchant Navy I knew many of them by name. When I was at sea the best time of the day for me was between 02.00 and 02.30 when I sent my lookout down for his ‘smoko’ (coffee/tea/cigarette break). For thirty minutes I would be alone on watch. On a clear night with no moon I would stand outside on the bridge wing and gaze at the stars. Without any backdrop of light from land the sight of billions of stars painted on a pitch-black canvas was indescribable. Although I was not walking closely with God at this time I remember being completely overwhelmed by His presence. A sense of God in the extraordinary, given the knowledge that He was and is the Creator. A God who reaches down to this planet to touch His children personally and individually.
This last week has been more about finding God in the ordinary rather than the extraordinary. My week has been disturbed by double-glazing fitters installing new doors and windows. It has been difficult to find my usual space in my usual quiet place to come to God. There has been no solitude. No chance to be alone with God. I have read of Brother Lawrence and of how his walk with God developed while he washed the dishes. I find it a challenge to practice God’s presence in the ordinary with all the distractions of my busy home, but this has been the only possibility for me this week. While I washed the dishes I looked out at the birds feeding in the garden. I remembered that Jesus said: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father” (Matthew 10:29 NIV). And I was overwhelmed by the knowledge that God doesn’t just know my name, but is intimately acquainted with each bird in my garden. And the ordinary became extraordinary as God reminded me that I can worship Him anywhere.