The Big Dipper

Growing up on a farm I never fully appreciated God’s gift of the evening sky; that inky blue-black canvas covered with a canopy of stars. I have memories of my sisters and I stretched out on our backs, hands clasped behind our heads drinking in the cool and calming expanse. Sometimes we debated a constellation; is that really the Pleiades over there? (we only referred to it as “the seven sisters”); we could always find Orion’s Belt, but honestly did the rest of the surrounding stars resemble a man?

At the end of a day recently as I looked skyward, disappointed at not seeing much of anything due to trees and street lights my thoughts drifted back almost 20 years. It was a trip back to my younger sister’s home – a rural area and on that night we stood staring heavenward mesmerized by the sky above; not the washed out Omaha version but that inky blue-black I experienced as a youth, punctuated with immense, striking white stars that made you want to breathe it all in deeply and exhale with a sigh and a smile.

Night Sky2

My nephew Sam was 6 or 7 and had recently been introduced to the planetary system via a classroom setting. He shared excitedly how much fun he had looking at the pictures and studying the drawings within the book.  His homework was to find The Big Dipper.  “But Eeta I can’t find them out there.” He was pointing upward into the clear night. “There’s so much. It looks all the same.”

Smiling I explained, “Well, let’s make it simple. Let’s find just one.” Satisfied he stood next to me as I crouched down and raised my hand. “Look Sam, there between the Elm branch the roof – do you see that bright star?” He nodded yes. “Well, look to the right. See the next one? Now down and then over…His eyes followed my index finger as I pointed to the Big Dipper, point by point, star by star and back to the handle. I watched his face as the intense look changed. His eyes widened and a huge smile spread over his small face. “Eeta. I see it! I see it!” Success at last – the lost had been found. We proceeded to identify the North Star and a few others, but he was happy and content with his accomplishment. Just staring at the myriad of lights it was hard to find what he was supposed to see, but once he was focused – the image became clear.

I smile when I think of that scene. So simple, but really it is no different today. We are to know what God expects of us. We are to know the hand of our Father, but in the explosion of this world’s neon lights – today’s scene is faded and the object is unclear. In other areas of my own life where I been floundering, looking at everything I faced and overwhelmed I just couldn’t seem to “find” anything because, well I lost focus and I would moan, “Lord there’s so much. It all looks the same.” I think those were the times my Father crouched down by my side and whispered to my heart, “Well, let’s make it simple. Let’s find just one.” His voice speaks to me to leave the bright lights of the world that wash out my vision and invites me to focus on the one bright light – Him. “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31. That message is still as essential for me today – to converse with Him, praise Him and listen as I read His word. Again in Hebrews 12:2 I am admonished to “fix your eyes upon Jesus”.

I need to take that time away; close my eyes to the challenges I face; give them over to Him and open my heart to his love, point by point – blessing by blessing. If I focus on Him, then the picture is clear and powerful. I can feel a smile spread over my face content to follow His leading and exclaim, “Lord, I see it! I see You!” The lost has been found.

Blessings, as you take some quiet time to rediscover God’s gift to you.



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