2016 was a year of losses for me, beginning with my father’s death in January. We had a few months to prepare for the inevitable after we confirmed that it was cancer and not Crohn’s disease (as he had insisted for so long). While everyone around me was coming to terms with the eventuality of his death, I was looking for a miracle. I was telling myself that there was hope, if we just fought hard enough. I was refusing to give up. It wasn’t until I was sitting at the side of his bed watching him fade in and out of consciousness that I really knew I would live the rest of my life without my dad in it.
In August, my grief still felt fresh, compounded even, by the many other difficult situations that presented themselves over the course of the year. I was buried under the weight of all that I had lost, wondering where my God was in all the darkness. I found myself begging for guidance, but unable to hear His voice over the sound of my own pleading for help, until one night in August, when I lay outside in my backyard under a blanket at 2:00 a.m., watching the Perseid Meteor Shower as I had done many times with my dad. He was a man who loved the stars, and he passed that same sense of wonder on to me and my brother early in our childhood.
It hadn’t been a particularly active shower up to that point. I was cold, tired, and aching with grief. Finally, I whispered aloud into the darkness, “God, please send me a big one, so that I know my dad is with You. So I know he’s okay.” Not five seconds later, an enormous fireball shot across the night sky – the biggest, most beautiful meteor I’ve ever seen in my entire life. My breath caught in my throat, and I knew that I had a God who was always listening, in every moment, even when I felt totally alone.
The next morning, I woke up and turned on the radio, still in awe of what had happened. The first song that played dropped me to my knees. The verses were about feeling alone on a road with no guidance leading into a joyful chorus: “You light, light, light up the sky, You light up the sky to show me You are with me.” And for a few incredible moments, I was wrapped once again in the arms of my Father.
I’ve thought back to that experience many times over the past few months, but it wasn’t until recently that I began to understand the true magnitude of what God showed me about Himself. When it first happened, I imagined God sitting with me, responding to my request as I made it – almost like a genie. He snapped His fingers, and a meteor appeared in the sky to answer my prayer. But now, months later, I think it’s something even more spectacular than that.
My God knew that this season of my life was coming eons ago. Before I took my first breath, He knew that I would whisper that prayer to Him that night in August. And He set that piece of space rock into motion before any of it happened, to answer the pleading of my heart before it existed. And so it is with our whole lives; we serve a God who sees the valleys before we enter them, and lights up the sky so that we know He is still with us. And if we can wait quietly in those moments, He shows us His presence and His love in ways that are completely undeniable.
Ever since that moment, I have continued my walk filled with joy. Even when I have tears in my eyes, or fear in my mind, I have joy in my heart because my God is all around – and He has been preparing the answers to my prayers before they even formed in my mouth. So if you too are in a season of loss, or grief, and the road ahead of you looks dark and treacherous, please know that God has a meteor in motion for you, too. Hold on to that expectation, and the joy that trails along behind it.
Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
Abiding in Him,