Another friend is enduring a difficult divorce. Following a prompting, I swung by her home the other day and found her in an emotional heap. I spent a goodly share of that afternoon trying to piece her back together.
My husband is still recovering from his oldest brother's suicide death, something that took place nearly 2 years ago. He is learning to take each day as it comes, but some days are still very hard.
Earlier today, I visited the local hospital to check on a friend who is facing the loss of yet another loved one. So far this past year, she has buried her father, and her brother. Now it's looking like her mother will soon be leaving mortal mode. A brain tumor surfaced on a recent scan, and it's not looking good at all. I felt so helpless as I embraced this good friend while she cried, heartbroken. We both understand the plan of salvation, but heartache still pierces through when a loved one's life hangs in the balance.
Yet another friend is bravely facing a battle of gargantuan proportions. (Insert: David going against Goliath) It tears my heart out, knowing how much she has suffered, and all she will be enduring.
And I'm still haunted by images of the destruction that took place in Haiti. I know it's not the end of the destruction predicted for our time, and I'm not happy about that.
How do we survive these troubled latter days? I've been thinking today about an experience I had a few years ago. Then, as now, there were numerous challenges taking place all around me. I finally walked out onto the front porch, and sat quietly one night, staring up at the star-filled sky. Silently I prayed to understand why things were so difficult.
When I opened my eyes, I felt an inner nudge to focus again on the sky. It was one of those nights when heaven seemed very close. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and it was filled with thousands of stars. Then suddenly, without warning, clouds moved in. Within in a couple of minutes, the entire sky was filled with clouds; the stars were no longer visible.
A question then filled my heart and mind: "Are the stars still there?" With that thought, came others: "Are you a beloved daughter of God? Does God still love you, despite the heartache of this time? Are you here on this earth for a purpose? Are the stars still there?"
I wrote a song not long after this experience, based on what I had felt that night. It continues to bring me comfort during difficult times. It is a gentle reminder that we are indeed watched over far more than we realize. A witness that despite the trials of our day, we will survive if we'll cling to the Light of Christ.
Are the Stars Still There?
1st: Dark were my thoughts, all around were storms of heartache and strife
All those tests that sometimes just go with life,
Mountains that seemed too steep to climb.
I walked outside--to clear my head and ask my Father, "Why?"
My inner peace had dissolved for a time
Where was the faith that was mine?
Chorus: Staring at the star-filled sky--my heart revealed its inner cry
"Father, if You're listening help me know the reason why."
A thousand tiny twinkling lights were covered, hidden from my sight
Grey clouds veiling light that once had shone so bright.
Darkness seemed to fill the night as every star was veiled from sight,
Yet peace crept in my heart and comfort eased the black despair
As the question came, "My child, my child--Are the stars still there?"
2nd: Now when dark thoughts come and some nights seem too long
I remember the words of this song
When everything seems to go wrong
The answer to my prayer, the night I struggled with despair
The night my Father heard my silent prayer
And reminded me the stars are always there.
Chorus: Our Father's love is always there--through layers of grief and care
Hope is shining brightly through the clouds of dark despair
A thousand tiny twinkling lights---though covered, hidden from our sight
Grey clouds veiling light that once had shone so bright
Though darkness seems to fill the night--and every star is veiled from sight
Peace and love seep through to ease the black despair
Remember the question--"My child, are the stars still there?"
Cheri J. Crane