I walk my dog, Marty, every morning. And afternoon. And evening. We take a lap around the apartment complex, and he smells the grass and tries to uncover the ground squirrels who are just below the surface barely beyond the tip of his nose. He does his business, though never as quickly as I’d like him to, and he stalls like a two-year-old when we turn back toward home.
It’s completely dark now in these early fall mornings as we do this, which is a gift to me with my damp hair, no makeup, an over-sized fleece, and the lime green Crocs I thought were the best idea back in 2001.
As much as I completely detest having to take this stroll every morning, especially now in the cold, these mandatory walks force me to slow down and be quiet.
No matter where I live, no matter in daylight or in darkness, the sky silently shouts to me.
Sometimes through glowing sunrises, sometimes in crisp, blue, autumn hues, and sometimes as its thick rain drops splash on the carpet of yellow leaves below me.
This morning, I could see more stars than I have ever been able to see on our morning walk. They glittered from their positions millions of miles away from little me.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
God’s voice is glorious in the thunder.
We can’t even imagine the greatness of his power.
He directs the snow to fall on the earth
and tells the rain to pour down.
There is something bigger, they whisper.
SomeOne bigger, they wink.
He is in charge of the stars; He directs the leaves when to change and when to fall; He orchestrates the weather; He designed the workings of each cell; He loves His creation, and He loves us.
There He sits, overlooking all of the movement and chaos, and yet He is unmoved. He is calm.
He is not surprised by an election, and He is not anxious about what may or may not come. He’s not shocked by a diagnosis or startled when a spouse leaves. His eyes don’t open wide when our shame and sin get dragged into the light. He is not scratching His head about where our lives should go from here.
He doesn’t need to make a Plan B.
He knows that our human systems will never be perfect. All of us are frail. All of us are a mixture of good and bad.
It’s been this way for all of humanity.
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
We don’t need to panic. He’s not.
We just need to acknowledge how much we need Him. Do we truly grasp how little we know compared to Him? How much we need His wisdom and perspective which will produce His peace?
Can we shift our focus from what we think should happen in whatever situation is currently capturing our attention and seek to discover what He’s up to when the plans aren’t going our way? Can I simply be quiet and listen?
He will surprise us when we slow down. And we will discover more of who He is.
When Peter realized for the first time that Jesus was God (recorded in Luke 5:8-10), he fell on his knees before Him, and do you know what Jesus’ very first words to him were as a new follower? “Do not be afraid.”
What kind of “Welcome to the Club” speech is that??
But as followers of Jesus, with our very lives entrusted to Him, we have nothing of which to be afraid. He promises it. He commands it.
Do not be afraid. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart: I have overcome the world.
There. Is. Nothing. To. Fear.
Not one thing.
He’s in charge. He’s bigger than anything I fear. I am reminded of that when I look at the sky.
So what do we do in the midst of fear, anxiety, and chaos? We choose the next good action.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
In other words: focus on anyone but yourself.
I love that He has shown us how to do these things, by His example in Jesus. If we study Jesus, we will see what to do.
Here’s how The Message puts this same verse:
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.
We don’t have time to fear and freeze up, friends. Kings and kingdoms come and go on earth, and our time here is limited, but as I tell my fifth graders: you can only control yourself.
These are our marching orders. And the King of the World says, “Now, go…”
(Even in your lime green Crocs.)
Photo Cred: Guy Huffman