I found myself wide awake in the middle of a twelve hour plane ride returning from six weeks in Israel. I first awoke with a headache I waited and prayed that it would go away but finally had to wake my husband to climb over him to get back to the galley where a kind steward gave me aspirin and lots of liquids. Returning to my seat, I did not want to wake the sleeping fellow passengers so I decided to open the window portal to view the sky. I knew it was sometime in the middle of the night in the current time zone and I would be able to gaze at the billions of stars without obstruction of clouds or atmosphere from our 40,000 foot perspective. I was amazed to see so many stars lighting up the sky! It was FULL of stars!
On the horizon was a thin arc of white cloud looking sheets. I peered at this for a few seconds wondering about these strange clouds so high, when I realized they were waving like sheets with bright strands reaching upward then fading. Northern Lights! Aurora Borealis! It had been many, many years since I had viewed them from the backyard at my parents rural farm house as a teen. But here they were, a private showing with no trees, clouds or artificial lights to obstruct the amazing view! I watched mesmerized for several minutes as they ebbed and flowed in waves of light sometimes hinting toward blue or green as they grew bright, then faded again. They stretch the entire width of the arc of the earth I could see from my window.
I looked around at the sleeping, oblivious people around me and decided it would be okay to poke my husband at least, to share in this awesome display. He tried to watch for a few minutes, but it was difficult to see unless you pressed your face to the window. I knew our camera couldn't capture the sight even if it were accessible. I decided God must be giving me a private showing, so I just sat and tried to take in the moment. Suddenly, I heard inside my head, "Behold, I sit enthroned above the circle of the earth." (similar to Isaiah 40:22) I knew it was God speaking. I immediately remembered Revelation 4 where it describes an emerald rainbow above God's throne. I always wondered what that meant, as most rainbows are not a particular color and require water in the air to reflect light. I never considered that it might look very much like the beautiful display of sheets of light often seen in the display of Northern Lights where green is definitely the predominant color.
In any case, my heart knew that God's message to me was that He was ruling and reigning, fully in control of events regarding this blue marble called earth. This was of great comfort to me personally, because of the events in my own life that had left me wondering so often lately what my next step should be. I often joke about the 40,000 foot perspective God often gives me when I pray for nations and leaders. Here I was, literally at that elevation, at 1:30 am, above Greenland in the Atlantic Ocean, considering God's sovereignty. Wow!
I was in awe of God, His Majesty and Power, His Beauty and the beauty which He has created--and at the same time comforted in His guidance of the very details of my life and my walk with Him. Leaving Israel again was difficult. I questioned my longing to be 'home' in Rochester. I questioned our ability to continue in ministry given the challenges we face on a daily basis. But I know that God is on the throne--a really big, beautiful throne that all heaven looks to. And thus, I will fix my eyes there as well, through the pressure of life's difficulties, listening for the still small voice--"This is the way, walk ye in it..." (Isaiah 30:21)
It turns out in 2010 we entered a peak time in the sun's 11 year cycle for solar storms which can cause Northern Lights to manifest. For more info and pics of Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis here are a couple links: