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starry night

Image by D7000Nikon via Flickr

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. (Romans 1:20)

During the time I spent at sea in my late teens and early twenties I lived life my way. God didn’t feature much in my thoughts. Except during the graveyard watch between midnight and 04.00 hours, and especially between 02.00 hours and 02.30 hours. Why then? Because that is when I sent my lookout for his break (see Finding God in the Ordinary). That left me alone on the bridge of the ship for a full thirty minutes. On clear nights I recall being completely overwhelmed by the glittering display of the night sky. With no light pollution from the land the intense darkness allowed each star to shine many times more brightly. Transfixed by such beauty I knew there was a God. And I knew that He loved me.

King David must have spent many a night during his early years as a shepherd in awe of a similar display of God’s handiwork. I can imagine him lying on his back as mesmerised by the night sky as I was when out at sea. In Psalm 19 David wrote:

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.

The heavens proclaim God’s glory. There is no excuse for not believing in God. And if you believe in God, then there is no excuse for not knowing God. His name is written everywhere.

But more than the experience of seeing God in the night sky I also remember the sense of His presence as I acknowledged His craftsmanship. That sense of His presence was accompanied by God’s loving touch right there in the darkest portion of the night, in the middle of the ocean. I am so grateful that God continued to make Himself known to me during a time in my life when I had turned my back against Him. A time perhaps when I needed God more than anything as He took care to rescue me from one mishap after another, and from many dangers. I am grateful that over time God slowly and carefully led me into a relationship with Him and away from the lures of our fallen world.

Psalm 19 challenges those who know God to join in with the rest of creation and silently make Him known. If there is no excuse for not knowing God, then equally there is no excuse for not making Him known. How? In the same way that creation does – silently, while not forgetting that we have the assistance of a Holy helper. My prayer is that through His Holy Spirit God will enable the way I live my life, the things I do, the way I speak, and even my thoughts to combine to make Him known.