Night was just falling as I drove to G.T.'s hockey game. The guys had gone on ahead, so I was alone in the car. Suddenly, a brilliant shooting star blazed through the sky, its flaming tail streaking after it in an awesome display. I gasped involuntarily at the sight, and said "Look at THAT!" even though no one was with me. And in almost the same moment as it appeared, it was gone, swallowed by the inky darkness as if it had never burned through the atmosphere. I came to a stoplight and continued to stare at the sky, blinking in disbelief. Did I really see it, or was it just my imagination?
The suddenness of the star's glorious death left me feeling oddly unsettled. In that split-second encounter I was amazed, dazzled and awestruck by the vastness of the universe, and humbled by my own insignificance in light of it. Fragments of scripture rushed at me, like loose musical notes of a song you can't quite remember.
"The heavens declare the glory of God..."
"He placed the stars in the heavens..."
"He knows them by name..."
"We are like the grass, which today is and tomorrow is gone..."
The light turned green and I continued on my way, pondering both the brevity of life and the hockey game that would be played that night. It seemed like God had sliced through my busyness to remind me that He, the Eternal One, beckons me to look up and see His handiwork. He calls me to seek Him. He pulls me toward Himself. He waits. And most of the time I'm oblivious to His voice.
The last scripture fragment floated, then settled on my heart. "He has set eternity in the hearts of men..." When I got home that night I eagerly opened Ecclesiastes to read the rest of the passage. What a feast for my spirit.
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil - this is the gift of God."
Our brief lives are filled with things like hockey games, committees, work, and activities. In light of eternity I suppose most of them are pretty silly. But they are also gifts to be enjoyed and appreciated.
There is beauty in seeing your children play and learn.
There is satisfaction in a job well done.
There is joy in being with others.
And in the midst of it there is God, working His eternal plans in our lives.
Sometimes it just takes a falling star to remember it.