Sun and Stars
Ever been lost — in the darkness — on the sea — in a storm? Not exactly the kind of experience we would choose. I am glad that Paul was. Not for Paul’s sake, but for little people like you and me. You see, if he had never gone through that fearful storm, the twenty-seventh chapter of Acts would not have been written.
The twentieth verse of that thrilling sea story written by Luke reads, “And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.”
The wind howled through the rigging of the ship, and tore at the sails. The ropes complained noisily as they were pulled taut, and the timbers groaned at the merciless pounding of the mountainous waves. The mariners reeled as the tiny container of two hundred and seventy-six souls was tossed like a shell on the mighty, roaring waves. It was dark, fearfully dark. The sun had long since disappeared from view and the pale light of the stars was hidden behind dense, black, boiling clouds which poured out their wrath on the tiny vessel. No wonder the writer of the record says, “All hope … was then taken away.”
Three things robbed them of hope: no sun, no stars, and no small tempest. You know, it is much like that with you and me; is it not? We get down and discouraged from time to time; it seems that there is no hope that we will ever rise again. Why is this? We go down when we lose sight of the sun and the stars, and when the storms of life blast their merciless way across our souls.
What about Paul? Great Paul; what a giant he was! He was in the very same ship, in the very same storm, in the very same darkness. “What about it, Paul,” we might ask, “are you discouraged?” Listen to his reply, “I believe God that it shall be even as it was told me” (V. 25). What makes the difference in these two men, Luke and Paul? Well, one had fear in the storm, and the other had faith in the storm.
The sun was still shining in all its brilliance, the stars had not been extinguished, but the mariners had lost sight of them, and the darkness had entered into their very souls, and hope had fled.
It is just so with us when we lose sight of Him concerning Whom the sun and stars speak. The very same reaction takes place in our souls.
The Person of Christ
The sun would speak of the Lord Jesus, for we read of Him as the Sun of Righteousness arising with healing in His wings (Mal. 4:2). It is when we lose the sense of the presence of Christ with us that hope flags. When we feel that He is taken up with some other young Christian’s problem, or looking after some other needy saint in some other town, we lose the sense of His nearness and feel like saying, “Oh! What is the use?” Then, just then, is the time for faith, faith in a storm. Say it, say it out loud if you must, but say it, “I believe God,” for He has said in His Word, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). Says someone, “I still do not feel that He is near.” No, neither did Paul feel the warm rays of the sun, but that did not mean that the sun had gone out. Paul believed God.
The Righteousness of Christ
The sun speaks also of the righteousness of Christ, and when we lose sight of this and become taken up with the darkness of our old and sinful nature, we get discouraged. Again we must just believe God, and rest upon what He says about “the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (Rom. 3:22). What a wonderful truth of which to lay hold!
The Love of Christ
The warm and genial rays of the sun likewise remind us of the love of Christ, shining out in full force upon the strong and the weak alike. Lose the sense of that personal love that the Lord Jesus has for you, and down you will go. He loves you personally. Believe that, even when you cannot feel it, for He has said, “As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you” (John 15:9). He loves you passionately, for we read, “The Son of God Who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). He loves you constantly. Get that truth! Fasten it firmly somewhere in the very centre of your being! His love never changes, even when we fail, sin, and grieve Him. In spite of such behaviour, He loves you with an infinite love; He cannot love you more. There is a proverb that says, “A friend loveth at all times” (Prov. 17:17). The Friend of sinners has that love that is unchangeable and unshakeable; it is always and ever the same. He loves you right now with an infinite passionate love. Believe it even in the darkness and in the storm.
The Guidance of God
The lack of a star is a serious handicap to the mariner who depends on the celestial map for guidance. The young Christian who has lost
his sense of the guidance of God in his life is very apt to become discouraged, and to lose hope just as did those sailors (Acts 27). What do we do when we lose the sense of God’s leading? Just believe Him in the darkness, for if we are willing to know His will, we can depend upon His promise, “I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way that thou shalt go; I will guide thee with Mine eye” (Psa. 32:8).
The Power of God
The stars in like manner speak to us of the power of God, for we read that majestic phrase of five words, “He made the stars also” (Gen. 1:16). When men make a satellite, they write millions of words about it. God fills the ether with stars of such magnitude that our minds reel in an endeavour to encompass their measurements, and with simple dignity it is recorded, “He made the stars also.”
Lose sight of the power of our great God, young Christian, and it will not be long until life will become too big for you, and down you will go. God can do anything! He has the power to meet your need. He can take the deepest longings of your heart and give them form and substance. He can take the feeblest, most hesitant prayer and make it into a mighty reality. Believe it! He can do it!
The Wisdom of God
We learn from the Psalmist that our God “telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by name” (Psa. 147:4). When next you look up into the high vault of Heaven and see the starry dust that fills that place, remember, they speak of the omnisience of God; He knows everything! He knows your need right now. He knows your desires; there are no secrets with Him. Next time you pray, tell Him all your heart; you will not surprise Him; He knows it all. Moreover, He knows how to meet the need you have today. If you lose sight of this fact, darkness will descend upon the soul and hope of help will fade.