“The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, And hastens to the place where it arose.”
On a clear night, I look up and see them in the sky, three bright stars lined up in a row. I don’t remember many of the names of the constellations I learned about years ago in school. But I remember this one, Orion the hunter, with three stars for his belt.
I have been noticing the stars lately because I am outside more than once during all hours the night. I don’t have young babies waking me up anymore. But I do have a very old dog, who needs to go outside every few hours. So two or three times a night, we go out into the darkness. He scans the yard for a good place to relieve himself, and I look up at the night sky. I see Orion and his belt, but each time he is in a different location above me.
When I see this, it reminds me of one thing. The earth is still turning. Every minute that we are living, every hour, every day, the world continues to rotate even though I can’t feel it.
And as I think about those stars, and the billions more that I can’t see from where I sit on my patio chair, I realize the greatness of the God who holds them all in place day by day. And not only that, but I wonder in awe at the fact that this God who holds up the heavens, also holds me and cares for me, and for my family. He cares for you and your families. He is able to work out His will in our lives and hear our prayers, even as He does for the whole world at the very same time!
“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?”
So here we are in 2021.
We “made it” through 2020.
Maybe you are someone who struggled through the year and was ready to say goodbye and good riddance to 2020. Or maybe you enjoyed some unexpected blessings like the slower pace of life, more family time, or a less hectic and demanding schedule.
Although the whole world has been facing the same challenge at the same time, everyone has had a unique experience and different struggles along the way. From being mildly inconvenienced, to feeling lonely and isolated, from navigating virtual learning, to losing jobs, or losing loved ones, the range of experiences in 2020 was so broad.
In my little corner of the world and in our home, I can’t find any reason to complain, only to thank God for His provision, protection, and peace.
Our life in 2020 was simple. I was thankful that my sons were little enough they didn’t seem to notice very much change in their routine. Their days were filled with exploring nature, playing, doing school at home, and building their relationship as brothers.
For this season we could wake up and say, “What do we want to do today?” We spent our days in the sunshine drinking in the beauty and wonder of God’s creation. We rode bikes. We painted pictures. We laughed and sang. We had no where else we needed to be. We made memories that we will treasure long after the years go by.
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence.”
For many, last year was a time of suffering and hardship. My heart goes out to those who have experienced sickness, great pain and loss. I grieve over the turmoil in the world at large. Yet, I continue to thank Him for the peace in our home, and the many blessings that I have seen over the past year.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Suffering. Perseverance. Character. HOPE. These are perfect words to describe what 2020 was about, and what we look forward to in 2021. No one likes suffering. But we have seen through this last year how trials do build perseverance and character. Through suffering we grow, we depend more fully on the Lord and His strength. We cling to Him as our hope for the future. Thank God for His love and His Holy Spirit that have been poured out to us in every situation to give us a hope that will not disappoint.
“He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.”
I don’t know what 2021 holds, but God does. So, I can rest and let Him handle it. I can enjoy each day and trust that He is able to keep holding it all together. I can look up at the sky and know that the earth still turns because He wills it; and that the sun rises another day for us to wake up and see His glory.
I tell my little boys at the start of a new year that we have 365 brand new days to look forward to. We should thank God for each one of them, and enjoy this time He has given us to live.
“He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.”
What will you remember about 2020?
What do you hope for in 2021?
When I look up at the stars, I am reminded of the One who made them. I know that if God can hold the universe in place, then He can hold me too. If He knows the number of the stars, He also knows each person on earth by name. He knows you and me. He knows what our lives looked like in 2020, and He knows what 2021 will bring.
I hope that the next time you look up at the night sky shining, you will think of His greatness, and feel His love. I pray you will experience a year full of strength, hope, joy, and peace. If your heart was broken in 2020, I pray that He will mend it, and comfort you with His healing touch. If you don’t know God as creator, sustainer, Savior, and Lord, I pray that 2021 will be the year you meet Him. May you be reminded of God’s goodness every day. And let His light shine through your life and mine this year, even brighter than the stars.