“But even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.” Psalm 139:12
“Mama, the world seems like a very scary place, and it makes me feel insecure and powerless. I’m afraid I’ll be so lonely without friends and family to face the difficulties ahead.”
Joy, my daughter, a senior in college, was leaving the next day for a semester of study in Oxford, England. Yet the day we were packing, ISIS had just killed the second of two American journalists. Friends sent messages to Joy wondering if she had seen the news.
“England will be the next target, and that might start war while you are there,” one of her friends texted. With devastating, disastrous world news including earthquakes, war, immorality amongst Christian leaders … as a young woman, Joy understandably felt overwhelmed.
Late into the night, we zipped her last suitcase. We were both exhausted from the adrenalin of getting all the details in place for her flight the next day, but she pleaded, “Can we have one last time together out on the grass, under the stars? I need some peace before I go to bed.”
I knew her fears were still there, so I whispered, “Yes, my sweets! We will make one more memory together before you go.”
As was our habit, we took some soft, old blankets out to our front yard, under the tall pines, and lay next to each other shoulder to shoulder on the grass. The cold Colorado mountain air blew gently across our faces, and the aspen leaves in the distance swished and danced. A dog barked in the distance, but otherwise, the night whispered clear and quiet.
We gazed into the sky and silently shared the moment. Stars filled the navy blue landscape and sparkled as though just for us. We breathed out life’s clutter and fears of the day and inhaled the peacefulness of the grandeur above.
“Mama, when I look at what God has done, and keep my eyes on Him, it seems like my fears are melting away,” she whispered and snuggled closer.
God’s own voice seemed to speak to my heart as I answered:
“Joy, this vast display of stars has been held in place by the sure, strong hands of God for thousands of years, through wars, tragedies, sadness and disasters of every kind. Not one year of our history has shaken the power or control of God.”
“As I lived through years of sleepless nights when you were gasping for breath with asthma, through car wrecks, financial disasters, the tragedies of our friends, I can look back and see the constant faithfulness of God, every day, every year.
“Our God who created this beauty for us to behold, who has shown His power through the calm night skies is the one who will be with you every step of your journey ahead.
“He will fill you with the Spirit who threw the night sky into place, so that you will know His companionship, love, beauty and wisdom each step in your journey. Remember what He told Joshua when he was afraid:
‘This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’ (Joshua 1:9).
“Joy, God prepared a story of faith for you to live. Many in Oxford long to know His love that you will bring. Others who look for meaning will need the messages of His truth that are stored in your soul. Beauty will be strewn across your path so you can observe His fingerprints.
“Your hope and faith are needed by those who are filled with despair in these dark times. If you embrace the days ahead that He has prepared for you, your time in Oxford will be a purposeful time, no matter what the days hold. Wherever you go, you will bring His light and love.
“But remember, Joy, you will always have a choice to make.
“If you look at the darkness and fear of the news of the day, you will grow dark in your soul.
“Look to God. Choose to trust Him with your days. Live in His reality.
“Don’t look at fear, just keep the memory of this night, His power and beauty always in your thoughts — and you will find courage and hope that you need every day. The God who holds the stars holds you.”
Heavenly Father, let us keep our gaze upon You and rest in Your ability to carry us through all of our fears, through all of our days. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Joshua 1:9, “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Isaiah 41:10, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
Visit Sally’s blog for more encouragement.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Consider the ways you have seen God’s faithful guidance to you this year.
What fears do you need to lay into His hands?
This devotion was originally posted on Proverbs31.org.
About the Author
Sally Clarkson is the beloved author of multiple bestselling books, including Own Your Life and Desperate (with Sarah Mae). As a mother of four, she has inspired thousands of mothers through Whole Heart Ministries (www.wholeheart.org), which she founded with her husband, Clay, in 1998. Since then, she has advocated relentlessly for the power of motherhood and the influence of home through her Mom Heart conferences (www.momheart.org), speaking to audiences on several continents. Sally encourages many through her blogs and websites—www.sallyclarkson.com and www.lifegivinghome.com (the companion site to this book)—as well as through her e-books and live webinars.