I have three very distinct and high uncovered windows in my home. As I lay on the couch one night when I couldn’t fall asleep, suddenly my eye was caught by the twinkling of a little star, and it made me smile.
I smiled because of the memories. The last time I remember falling asleep (or trying to!) with stars overhead like that was in Africa, laying on the grass in a little town outside of Nairobi, Kenya. I recall staring up in amazement at the incredible expanse above me, and pondering the constellations God had set up in the southern hemisphere. In so many ways that night feels like it was just a week ago instead of over fifteen years ago now. That was one of the greatest season of my life, and preceded what was to become the year of, in so many ways, the most difficult season of my life
I smiled, too, because I have a star “thing.” The story is far too long to go into now, but it’s carried over to many areas of my life. Much of my jewelry has stars or that little word that has always been a theme in my life – hope – or even a combination of both.
Stars and hope go hand in hand in my mind, I suppose. The starscape that now spans the front half of my house makes me smile with the many unique gold and silver stars that are scattered there year round. Each of those stars are as different and distinct as the many glimpses of hope that God has given – and continues to give – in the many unique ways He’s chosen to display them in my life.
I find myself, many a time initially unaware, clasping or toying with whatever necklace I may be wearing, fingering it, and tracing those four letters with my finger.
What a simple, yet powerful word.
It’s a word which ties into one of my favorite passages of Scripture, Psalm 71. While I love the whole passage, there are two segments that hold particular meaning for me (verses 5-9 and 14-18).
For You have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD,
my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on You;
You brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise You.
I have become like a portent to many,
but You are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with Your praise,
declaring Your splendor all day long.
Do not cast me away when I am old;
do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.
My mouth will tell of Your righteousness,
of Your salvation all day long,
though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim Your mighty acts, O Sovereign LORD;
I will proclaim Your righteousness, Yours alone.
Since my youth, O God, You have taught me,
and to this day I declare Your marvelous deeds.
Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, O God,
till I declare Your power to the next generation,
Your might to all who are to come.
As I find myself reaching up and touch the star on my necklace, and feeling the outline of that word, I nearly always find myself saying, “But as for me, I will always have hope.”
I’m glad, when I couldn’t sleep, that I made my way out to the couch, something I rarely do. And that when I still couldn’t sleep, that God prompted me to open my eyes and look up. I clearly needed the reminder He provided.
Although I couldn’t reach out and touch it had I tried, it was like God put that one little star there for me. It was a beautiful clear night, with a stunning full moon, and the expanse of His handiwork evident all around in every direction earlier. But in the early hours of the morning, the lone thing in the darkness of the room was the glow of that one twinkling star.
It brings to mind, too, the star perhaps most referenced in history, the star when Christ was born. A star that serves as a reminder of the promises of hope brought on that first Christmas, the hope of Emmanuel – God with us.
And because He is now God with us – God with me – even when there are times it doesn’t feel as if He is, I think about the significance of that star. And I can reach up and clasp the star around my own neck, trace those four little letters, and declare with confidence, “As for me, I will always have hope.”