I was shoveling in the middle of some of the heaviest snow of the season the other day when I paused and looked up. There were seemingly endless snowflakes falling all around me out of the vastness of the gray sky. I know infinity can’t really be defined, but if I had to, this image of snow is how I would define it. It was beautiful and oddly soul-stirring.

I’ve always liked looking up. As a child I would float on my back and watch the clouds for long periods of time. (I was a great floater)! The peacefulness I felt was unmatched, until some other kid who was more into disturbing the peace noticed my stillness. Don’t feel sorry for me–Icould give as good as I got, and it was an important life lesson: sometimes our peaceful waters will be churned up. I have never lost my childhood love for the sky, but over time I came to realize that looking up was really a time of prayer. When I step outside into a winter night and the cold takes my breath away, I look up to see the stars and I give thanks for God’s creation. When I am sad or lonely, I go for a walk in the woods, stop to look up through the trees and give thanks for the steadfastness of God’s love. When the world seems troubled and life is hard, I look up and remember that we will never be abandoned or forsaken. And yes, when I am at the lake with my family, I float on my back and give thanks for the blessings of sunshine and love.

It doesn’t take long to pause and look up, and yet for me it is a powerful reminder of both the vastness of God’s grace and the intimacy of God’s love. When I was in college I was in a musical about the miracle of God’s love. It was written by a group of students and the name has long left my memory, but the chorus of one the songs is never far from my heart.

When I look up, what do I see?
I see a rainbow shining down its light on me.
When I look up, what do I see?
Sun shining through my gray skies, making everybody free.
O surround me with your splendor,
O won’t you rock, rock, rock me in your arms?
Hold me close forever, even through eternity.
When I look up, what do I see?

I encourage you to stop and look up this week. Be reminded that the God of the universe, the God of the sun, the rain, the snow and the stars, is never far away and longs to surround you with love and grace.

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