Wednesday, June 6, 2018

I've Seen The Stars, I Know Their Maker

 But he (Thomas) said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." He then said to Thomas, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving." Thomas answered and said to Him ,"My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."
John 20:25b-29 

I took those pictures years ago with a telescope that I bought with money that I didn't really have. That's what I've done a lot of my life. Telsecopes, bonsai trees, medicine, psychology, flying remote control airplanes, fly fishing, fly tying. I get curious about something, get obsessed, and go get it. I want to know. I want answers. 

We didn't have kids then and had jobs that paid real money. I didn't believe in God, so my time and resources were my own (I thought). I met some guys who were also into telescopes - engineers, NASA scientists, and even a cowboy or two. There was an astronomy club, and we wanted a bigger, better telescope, so we built one with sonotube, plywood, aluminum conduit, huge mirrors, covered it in red Formica, and called it the Eveready Battery, because it looked like one. Here's a picture of the newly completed project in my carport.

We loaded it in my pickup and joined hundreds of amateur astronomers who made an annual pilgrimage to the Prude Ranch in the Davis Mountains of deep, southwest Texas. The event was called the Texas Star Party. Here's a picture of the telesecope with John Dobson sitting in front of it. He's the guy who designed the mount we built. If you're an astronomer, you know he was a famous guy. We looked through eyepieces all night, took pictures, and pondered the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

It was fun, but it wasn't fulfilling. It was just another one of the things that I did to try to answer my questions, fill my hungry intellect and heart. After telescopes, bonsai, showing Chinese Sharpei, painting, solving people's problems as a psychologist, and who knows what else, it just didn't work anymore. When it didn't, guess who was there? Generous, patient, forgiving Jesus, waiting just like the prodigal father in Luke 15, and I believed.

I still didn't have all the answers to every question in the universe, but they became far less important. See, I had found the one who held the universe in his hand. If I hadn't believed, who knows what I would have done or become. My greatest loss would have been not knowing Jesus. But there would have been other losses, too. Two of them are in the next picture. 

Before I believed in Jesus, I didn't want children. Almost as soon as I believed, I did. Just a few months after Jesus saved me, the girl in the hat was growing in my wife's womb. Four years later, the toothless boy on the right was in my arms. I was so like Thomas. I wanted proof before I would believe. When I finally believed without seeing, I discovered that Jesus would indeed bless those who believed without seeing.

God is so generous in his patience and forgiveness. I love the two in that picture as much as I love life. I thank God that his salvation for me included a life in which they existed. If I had not believed, they would not be here. That would be a terrible thing, though I would not know it. Even worse, I would not know Jesus. I have seen the stars, and now I know their maker.