As we planned our Alaska/Yukon trip, one of the things we were really anticipating was the possibility of viewing Aurora Borealis-the Northern Lights. Unfortunately, nature did not comply. In order to show off their exquisite beauty, the Aurora Borealis do have one tiny little requirement: They need night! You see, we were far enough north that the sun never really set. If you were awake at two in the morning (my wife was still on Ontario time!), you would notice that dusk had set in; but then dawn would already be lighting the eastern sky by 2:30! It could be said that in truth, we didn’t sleep at night! There was no night to sleep in!
The Northern Lights do appear regularly in the Yukon however, during the fall and winter months, and we were told that the Yukon light shows are exceptional. In a museum dedicated to this phenomenon, we learned that the lights are called “Northern” because they occur most often above the 60 degree North line of latitude. (That’s why they are called “Southern Lights” when they occur below the 60 degree South line of Latitude!) The occurrence of the lights has something to do with solar flares that discharge an excess of protons and neutrons. (Kind of a colourful zap gun, if you are into Star Trek!) However when you have the privilege of admiring this Northern spectacle, no scientific explanation is needed.
I can still remember when we used to live in Northern Ontario, Canada. We used to joke that we lived 6 hours north of Santa Claus, as “Santa’s Village” was a six hour drive south. I had experienced a tough week at work and my mental “balloon” was deflated. I was just putting my feet up when my wife suggested going for a walk. I was hesitant at first. In fact, I was pretty sure she was nuts, because it was ten o’clock at night and it was the middle of winter! (I love nuts, by the way!) I went anyway, and I certainly didn’t regret my experience.
As we were walking, my wife noticed something different in the sky, something that she had never seen before. It didn’t look like fireworks; it was something very obviously natural. The sky was literally dancing. Green and blue tones were graciously intermingling and moving across the sky, ever changing in their form, as if there was a painter throwing out colour on a pallet, and then letting them run at will. And all this, free of charge! Imagine that!
We stared at that show of nature for at least an hour before the cold drove us back inside, but as I re-entered the house, I realized that the burdens of my week had lifted. The beauty of what we had just witnessed had reenergized me, once again filling me with hope.
When we take the time to contemplate it, God’s nature always has this effect on people.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” (Ps 19:1-2 NIV)
At that time in my life however, I didn’t realize just how much more poignant it is to experience God directly on a personal and intimate level! Worries are non-existent in His presence because He assures us that we have nothing to fear! We are suddenly allowed to see things from His perspective, and believe me, that perspective is quite different from ours! When we take the time to look at life through God’s eyes, we quickly discover that we, indeed, have nothing to fear! “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.” (1 Peter 3:14-15 NIV); and “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4:18 NIV)
God is that awesome! Have you brought your worries as an offering to His altar of praise? If not, try it and experience His overflowing love for you.
Worries? That’s a thing of the past! I have better things to contemplate!
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matt 6:34 The Message)
P. S. Would you like to follow the lead of our friend, the Aurora Borealis, and join me in my dance of gratitude to God?