- Go outside. What a no-brainer for stargazing, but how often do I complain about my lack of intimacy with God when all-the-while I'm not even giving him a second thought. I need to put myself in a place where it's possible to see God.
- Get away. For those who have lived their lives in cities or brightly lit suburbs, counting the stars in the sky seems like a pretty trivial task. Get out where it's dark and you'll see the thousands you're missing (hundreds of thousands if you count the Milky Way band). It's also tough to see God when there's so much else going on drowning him out. Riches, worries and pleasures (Luke 8:14) and the busyness of life and our thoughts keep us from seeing more than a shallow view of God.
- Allow time to adjust. If you go outside from a bright room, you'll see very little at first; you have to wait for your eyes to adjust and gain your night vision before you can see the faint objects. We need time for our souls to adjust as well, to get all the distractions out of us before we can see God clearly and deeply.
- Use quality equipment. Your eyes can see a lot on a dark night, but adding even a low-powered telescope can add so much more. Moons of Jupiter, rings of Saturn, phases of Venus, shadows on the Moon, and even some of the brighter nebulae and galaxies are visible with just a little help. So too should we lean on the Bible, commentaries, devotionals, and the like to see deeper.
- Clean the lens. If your lens is foggy or dusty, then there is no option but to see blurry and faded images. If your soul is dirtied with unconfessed sin, you can't see God for who He truly is. Get it clean, ASAP.
- Focus. The analogy has already been made. You must focus a telescope before you can see through it. Mentally focusing on God is also necessary before you can see His glory.
- Use long exposure times. Some objects are just too dim to see with what the eye can absorb. Setting a camera with an exposure time of minutes will take in enough light to make that object visible. Just remember that the camera must "follow" the object, to account for the Earth's rotation. Similarly, we must take the time to sit and absorb what God is telling us. A quick snapshot will often leave us in the dark. And God often wants to take us on a journey (He did that with me today), so be patient and follow Him.
- Get a good guide. A lot of space is just that: space. You point a telescope at it and see black. Or maybe a few stars that are no different than those you can see on your own. Being able to have a guide (a person or book) that tells you exactly where the interesting stuff is and how to find it. When seeking God, our Guide needs to be the Holy Spirit. Invite him to guide you in your time.
- Be prepared for uncomfortable times. Clear skies bring cold weather. Some celestial objects don't rise until quite late. If you want to see them, you need to get uncomfortable. There are times as well where God will want to show you something at an inconvenient time, in an inconvenient way. Set aside your discomfort and your own plans and turn to Him; let Him show you something wonderful.
- Accept that some days are cloudy. You may have everything planned out. You may be completely prepared. You show up and see nothing, because it's all gray. You did nothing wrong. God sometimes makes my time with Him cloudy. I'm truly seeking after Him, and I get nothing in return. But just as the heavens are still stunning and majestic, God is still awesome and beautiful. And there will be a clear day coming. Wait for it. Hunger for it.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
I've been struggling for a while in my connection with God. It seems like He's distant, uncommunicative, and frankly boring. But I was challenged today with changing that, mainly by truly seeking God, not simply asking for stuff. I spent time rolling that around in my head, practicing the points of the message on the message itself. (Is that some sort of meta-devotional?) After some time of mentally chewing on it, God showed me the similarities between seeking after Him and one of my other favorite activities: stargazing. Like the universe, I know God is immensely complex and interesting, so it's similar to my going outside and seeing just a few stars. Here are the pointers on what's necessary to get the most out of the heavens, which will hopefully help get the most out of Heaven: