How can understanding our place in the universe increase our faith? Stacey Morgan shares her discoveries.
The Astronaut’s Wife
By Stacey Morgan
I head outside on a clear night. It’s dry and cloudless, so I throw out a blanket and lay down on the grass to more easily gaze at the stars. Looking up at the Milky Way, it’s natural to wonder at God’s creation and ponder my place in this infinite universe. I feel small and, for a minute, almost dizzy as I think about the Earth spinning through space and my tiny place in it.
On the edge of my vision, I catch a prick of light moving across the night sky in a straight, purposeful line. If I didn’t know what I was looking at, it might easily be mistaken for a satellite, an airplane, or even a shooting star. But I know that it’s the International Space Station, with my husband inside, safely zipped into his space sleeping bag and snoozing away, orbiting our planet sixteen times a day at a leisurely 17,500 miles per hour. It’s a bright speck in the black sky and gone in less than 5 minutes. It won’t pass overhead again for another month or so; its quick appearance and disappearance below the horizon like a hazy, half-remembered dream.
Sometimes I need to remind myself how small my place is in the universe. When my ego goes unchecked, it’s easy to believe I take up more space in the world than I do. My voice gets louder and shrill. My desires become more important than the needs of others. I begin to believe I can, and should, do everything on my own, without any help. My burdens feel heavier than they really are. But laying in my backyard, counting the stars in Orion’s belt, wondering if Moses, Deborah, Esther, or even Jesus did the same thing, I am reminded of who I am and my proper size in the grand scheme of the world.
I contemplate God’s incredible scope, imagination, and mystery. To ponder the universe is to marvel at the handiwork of God. To do so shrinks my inflated sense of self and reconnects me to what matters most and who I really am. My husband may be far away - farther away than I can often imagine - and yet I am not alone.
If I reach out, my Help is there. I may be one of the billions of people on this planet, but I am uniquely known and loved by a God who tells me who I am, and he asks me to have faith. Not faith in myself, my abilities, bank account, government, family, or even happy endings. But faith in a God who promises to be with me in both the best and worst of times. Faith in a God who promises that he will give me the endurance I need when life gets tough. Faith that when burdens feel heavy, he will bring others alongside me to help. Faith that when I am lonely, he will draw friends around me to dry my tears and hold my hand.
Sometimes it takes lying in the grass and looking up at the night sky to remind me that there is comfort in being smaller than my ego’s inflated perception. When I gaze up, I remember that I sit in the palm of the hand of the same God who scattered those countless stars and knows me better than I know myself.
When life feels complicated and your burdens threaten to overwhelm you, when you can’t remember who you are anymore, or can’t find your firm footing in this unstable world - go outside. Lay down. Look up at the night sky. Be reminded that the same God who created and controls the universe you now marvel at knows your every thought and prayer, loves you deeply, and asks you to have faith.
Stacey Morgan is the author of The Astronaut’s Wife: How Launching my Husband into Outer Space Changed the Way I Live on Earth. Stacey currently works for MOPS International as an Executive Leadership Coach. She and her husband have four children and currently reside in Friendswood, Texas. When she’s not speaking at women’s events or scribbling down ideas for her next book, she’s watching historical dramas on PBS, reading a good mystery novel, laughing at internet memes, or planning her next adventure. You can learn more about Stacey at StaceyMorgan2000.com or connect on Instagram @StaceyMorgan2000.