Still Small Voice

The other night (09/09/2009) I had quite a special experience that drew me closer to God.

We had had a bible study on a difficult passage that evening (1 Corinthians 11) for which I had spent a reasonable amount of time studying and praying about over the previous days. I felt the need for God's help, since I wasn't sure how to approach things but had felt this need was met at our meeting.

After getting home and saying good night to Amy (my wife), who had already fallen asleep, I felt like spending some quiet time with God in prayer. So in the living room in the armchair and on the floor I spent about 30 minutes trying to be conscious of God without specifically 'praying' about things.

Towards the end of it felt like I was having an imaginary conversation with God. This is something I have done before, but never really paid too much attention to because it just feels like my own thoughts. But I remembered about reading a blog post in the last month where someone else had recounted something similar and had thought it quite insightful (particularly the 'response of God' in that person's thoughts). Also, the thought had come to mind of where the Bible talks about God speaking in a "still small voice".

So I tried to listen to this still small voice (most of which I can't now remember) then I had the strange and unexpected thought come to mind to look out the window (it was about 11:30pm). So I did look out the window.

It was a beautiful clear night and I had a good view of the stars - probably the best view of the stars I have seen from our house. I was thanking God while admiring and contemplating the grandeur of his creation. I looked intently at the stars and wondered why - if it was God - he had prompted me to look out of the window.

I was reminded of reading about some research about the 'Star of Bethlehem' and a DVD that was produced about it, and also another DVD I had read about called The Privileged Planet (you can watch it here) which presents research and evidence to suggest that the universe is uniquely designed to support life on earth.

My ongoing 'dialogue' gave me the thought to go and order both DVDs on the internet. So I went up to the study to look up further information about the videos.

Before I left I had noted a particular bright star and the formation around it.

I spent about an hour on the internet looking up about both programs (which aren't easily available in the UK) and was nearly ready to order one of them from the U.S. amazon.com when I had the thought to go and look out the window at the stars again.

It was already getting quite late and I wanted to get to bed but because of my earlier experience I decided to go downstairs and look out the window again. The star formation I had seen earlier had moved quite a bit across the sky.

After a couple of minutes, right in front of me, and in the middle of where the star formation had moved across I witnessed the most brilliant shooting star I have ever seen, that went streaming down from right up high in the sky, nearly to the ground. It left a long red trail behind it. It was much brighter than any of the stars (I have since learned that this kind of meteor is called a "fireball"). Needless to say it left my heart beating - not just because it was a spectacular sight, but because of the strong sense I had of God's pervasive presence.

I went up stairs and finished ordering the DVD, and emailed about the other which I couldn't source, then got ready for bed.

Before actually climbing into bed I decided to have one last look at the stars. I didn't see anything special this time, but I did have a catchy part of a Stevie Wonder tune going through my head. It had been in my head most of the day from Theo (my boy) putting it on that morning. I didn't know what the actual lyrics were or the song title, but remembered about "something in the sky".

I looked at the CD cover to work out which song it was. It was called "Ribbon in the Sky" and the album was called "Natural Wonder".

Comments

Hi Ross
It was good that you shared that the other day. It is also interesting that you did not give any rational interpretation of or 'message from' the sign in the sky. I think that is a good thing because with our western mind set we are always apt to bring some containment to things. Even our theology is in most cases the sum of our spirituality ... but what if our transcendant God just wants to blow our mind and leave us with a sense of awe or even with just an awareness that what happens in this present moment has sufficient intrinsic value of itself without needing any other utilitary future purpose attached to it? Our rational mind says such a revelation has no use for 'me' - it is purposeless .. and perhaps that is what is its essential value and indeed its message ... that there is no message but just a wow moment in which God reinforces his greatness and confirms the finite limitations of the little 'me'. May God give you many more wow moments!!

Today I received the "Privileged Planet" DVD in the post (just finished watching it), also I got this nice email about my fireball sighting report:

Dear Ross,

Many thanks for your September 9-10 fireball report. Much appreciated, and congratulations on spotting such an impressive event!

Unfortunately, but as is often the case, I've not had any other fireball observations from around 23:30 UT that night as yet. Your report will of course stay on-file in case anything more turns up, and I've added it to my notes for publication in the next SPA Electronic News Bulletin, which is due out early next week, which may help bring in any belated reports. I'll also add it to the SPA's "Recent Fireball Sightings" page in my next update, though as the person who puts those online is on holiday at present, that may not be for another week or so. The Fireball Sightings page is at:

http://www.popastro.com/sections/meteor/fireball_sightings.htm .

While I appreciate the comments about your "novice" status at meteor observing, your fireball report is excellent, and has all the details in I'd need to make a comparison with any other sightings. I only wish there'd been some!

If you've learnt of anyone else who saw it (or indeed, any other fireballs), please do let me know with full details. Good luck for something as impressive again before too long (and my hopes that others will have seen and reported it, if so!).

With all best wishes,

Alastair McBeath,
Morpeth, Northumberland.

Meteor Director, Society for Popular Astronomy.
Meteor homepage: http://www.popastro.com/sections/meteor.htm