Consider the heavens
by Rev Jacky Quarmby 11 February 2022
Reading: Genesis 15: 1- 21
A lot has happened since Abram left Ur of the Chaldeans and travelled to Canaan, following God’s call. God had promised Abram that he would become a great nation and that his offspring would inherit the land of Canaan and yet he is still childless. Sarai had been unable to conceive and was fast approaching the age when motherhood would be impossible. Abram is anxious. One night he is lying in bed, tossing and turning, his mind filled with doubts and fears, when he senses God speaking to him.
“Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your very great reward.”
“But Lord,” says Abram, “You have given me no children. The way things are going, my servant Eliezer will be my heir.” Then God took Abram outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars … so shall your offspring be.” And in that moment, Abram believed the Lord, eventhough it seemed impossible.
When I read this passage, I am reminded of that wonderful verse in Psalm 8, which says,
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what are mere mortals that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”
There is something awe-inspiring about looking up at the stars on a clear night. While amazed at the vastness of the universe God has created, we are also reminded of our own littleness and unimportance in the greater scheme of things. But far from creating a sense of despair, this recognition seems to make us all the more thankful that even though we are insignificant, God still cares for us.
This was the experience of Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager, who gained fame posthumously with the publication of her diary in 1947 in which she documents her life in hiding, during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II.
This is what she writes in her diary. “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”
Abram was afraid, but as he contemplated the heavens, he was reassured that God’s promise would come to pass. When we are anxious, let us too make time to be alone with the heavens, nature and God that we may find reassurance, courage and strength for all that the future holds.
Hymn: O Lord my God when I in awesome wonder
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As we gaze in awesome wonder
At the works your hand has made
May we be led to praise you
To thank you that you care for us
And to trust you with all that lies ahead. Amen