In the midst of the panic caused by anxiety or the pain of depression, it can feel impossible to see God. As someone who battles both, I know that when I find myself battling anxiety and depression, I need to feel God, to really know he is with me.
I remember one night in particular. I was struggling in almost all the areas of my life: in my marriage, my job, my health. The worry over what to do and the panic that nothing would ever be okay were stealing my ability to sleep. I wasn’t experiencing any sense of joy or peace. I was frustrated with God. I remember going outside to the back patio to sit down and pray.
I looked up at the sky and was suddenly overcome by the glorious display of the stars, all aligned in various patterns. All glowing brightly and fixed in their places. Suddenly, I realized, God wanted me to see this canvas to display his mightiness and power.
He knows how hard it is to stay focused on the spiritual in this chaotic physical world. And so, in an act of love, he has provided us ways to see him using the world he created. One of those ways is through the nighttime sky. I was suddenly reminded of the words in Isaiah 40:26:
“Lift up your eyes to the sky and see for yourself. Who do you think created the cosmos? He lit every shining star and formed every glowing galaxy, and stationed them all where they belong. He has numbered, counted, and given everyone a name. They shine because of God’s incredible power and awesome might; not one fails to appear!”Isaiah 40:26 TPT
In a world of scientific discovery, we have yet to find the end of the galaxy. As an artist and a scientist, God has majestically put together a beautiful arrangement in the sky to remind us he is plenty capable of providing us guidance and meaning. When God created the stars he said:
“Let there be bright lights to shine in space to bathe the earth with their light. Let them serve as signs to separate the day from night, and signify the days, seasons, and years.”Genesis 1:14-15 TPT
And so, as I stared at the magnificent spread of wonder before me, I realized my anxiety could not stand against the truth testifying before my very eyes. God had designed all of it with precision. If he could do that with an entire galaxy, then he could surely manage my life. As David wrote in Psalm 8:
“Look at the splendor of your skies, your creative genius glowing in the heavens. When I gaze at your moon and your stars, mounted like jewels in their settings, I know you are the fascinating artist who fashioned it all! But I have to ask this question: Why would you bother with puny, mortal man or care about human beings?”Psalm 8:3-4 TPT
If you are facing a lot of unknowns and you don’t know where life will take you next, God is not unaware. He has the power to bring meaning and direction to even the worst times in our lives.
Anxiety isn’t the only nemesis I regularly face. I struggle with depression. It often comes on me in the night, when my day has slowed down, and I begin to focus on my mistakes. I find myself mentally reliving painful moments or mentally punishing myself for things I have done.
The hardest part about my obsessive thoughts about past regrets is I am left feeling hopeless. I know I can’t redo those parts of my life. I can’t go back and change the facts of my story. When my mind gets trapped there, I can find it hard to want to live, to want to get up in the morning and try again.
But God is also aware of this struggle, too. In Revelation, Jesus calls himself the “bright Morning Star” (Rev 22:16 TPT). There is power in the fact that God designed a world where there is a dedicated start to it. The fact that we have morning, where the sun rises, is another physical reminder he lovingly put in place.
Jesus knows how desperately we need new beginnings. In Lamentations we read, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness!” (Lam 3:22-23 NRSV).
Every morning, regardless of what happened the day before. God wants us to get up, watch the sun rise, and be aware that with it comes a physical reminder that he wants you to begin again. We may still have to work through the consequences of our actions or face hard realities. But we can do so with the understanding that God has forgiven us and wants us to live in the freedom of hope.
I don’t know what mistakes you have made in your life. I don’t know what you regret, or wish was different, but I do know that you are not alone in those feelings. I have them, too. Please join me in looking at the sunrise each morning and remembering that just as he brings a new day, he wants to bring a new chapter to your life.
The Lord we serve wants you to begin again. He has told us, “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall” (Malachi 4:2 NASB). Allow the rays of God’s sun in the morning to push back any lies that tell you there is no hope.
To bring these truths to life, step outside some night this week and look up to the sky. Find a star, focus on the majesty of it, and realize that if God took the time to align it in its place and name it, then he is mighty enough to know all the details of your situation. He is well aware of all the corners of your life, even ones you are not aware of. The God of the cosmos takes a very personal interest in the details of your life. Take time to recognize you are in the care of the God who created a galaxy that has no foreseeable end.
And in the morning, get up and watch the sun rise. As it does, let the experience be a reminder that the Lord wants to start each day anew with you. He delights in making things new. He finds joy in providing hope and opportunity. Do not let lies steal your hope. Draw near to the God who calls the sun to rise every morning to remind us of this truth.
As I picture you, reading this, I want to pray for you: Lord, let us look to the stars at night to see the power of your majesty and be aware that you already know the future and the life we have in front of us. You will never leave us nor forsake us. We pray we would allow the picture of your all-knowing power to drive away our fears. And as we see the sun rise in the morning, may we remember you long to forgive us, to make us new, and provide us with a fresh start. Keep those truths alive in our hearts as we go about our day. Grant us hope and peace as we live with you, a God who loves more deeply than we can ever know.
God has placed different reminders all through creation to bring himself to life. You can experience more of these reminders of God through my book, The Healing Names of Jesus. It features a new name every day, practical tools on how to use that name to combat depression and anxiety and a prayer to help you along.
As you experience Jesus this week through this metaphor, take pictures of the stars or the sun that bring this to life. I would love to see them—post them to #thehealingnamesofjesus.