I’ve spent a lot of time staring at the stars.
It started years ago, when I was given a small, plastic telescope that I would drag out across our backyard late into the night. I convinced friends to sleep outside without a tent so we could stare at the stars. I was heartbroken when, after doing renovations to our house, I lost my beloved skylight that enabled me to see the glistening lights of the country sky.
We’ve always had a love affair, the sky and I. But I fell in love with him on the other side of the ocean, where I would climb onto the roof and spend my evenings under the African sky. I fell deeper in love with the stars the night I went back to Senegal, showering under a full moon in a tin shanty with a bucket full of rain water.
But I fell truly, madly in love with the full moon and stars when I realized that they were a symbol, a love letter, between the God that I love and the God who loves me.
The thing is – I forget. I forget, over and over again, of His faithfulness. I push it aside in the dark times, and I am quick to respond in fear when I long to respond with trust.
But the full moon and the stars keep appearing. They are the thin place, the sacred ground, where He and I meet, and I whisper to Him heart cries and He whispers to me faithfulness.
The very first words in the story of Abraham and Isaac are three words. After these things. Up until these past few months I had skipped over them, barely noticing their place in the story. Abraham and I, though, we keep meeting. We meet in conversations. We meet in words. We meet in names. And I have spent these past months sitting with those nineteen verses, and they have come alive to me. Some day, maybe, I’ll write the story, but for now, this is what needs to be said:
those three words –
after these things –
are so important
They aren’t meant to be stepped over – prodded over – pushed aside.
They tell you what has happened and what is to come.
We can’t fully understand the story of Abraham and Isaac until we know the story that was before. And those words – that idea – is as important to us as readers of Scripture as it is for us as doers of Scripture.
Don’t disdain your story.
Do not disregard the journey it has been to get you to the place you are. The broken pieces, the heartbreak, the loneliest and darkest of nights. All of those things, summed up in three words – after these things.
and after –
He is there. It’s the only way we can understand who we are:
when we understand who we have been.
And so I keep going back to the stars, and the full moon, to remind me of His faithfulness. The tears I have let fall before Him. The whispers of faithfulness in return.
And I am ever thankful –
that after these things –
the moon still rises, the stars still glisten,
and He is in the midst of it all.