Just recently, before we were restricted by the government to travel even within our own state, Nigel and I went for a three night trip in our van to Innes National Park on the Yorke Peninsula. There was not a soul around: all we had was each other and the birds, the insects, the bush, the beaches and cliffs, sunrises and sunsets.
One night, our last night, it was very mild and clear, and we decided to spend some time just watching the stars. We rugged up against the mozzies, put our camping chairs under the dark heavens and just looked. Because we were so deep in the National Park, and there was no light pollution from any nearby settlement, we could see the night sky as we would not be able to in Adelaide. The sky was studded with stars, planets, the Milky Way, galaxies. During our time sitting there and marvelling at the inky depths of our universe, we saw several satellites fly over as well a number of shooting stars. It was just magical.
When we spend some time looking at the heavens above us, how can we not marvel at God’s immense creation, which goes so far beyond what we can see? It also got me thinking how, even in space, we can find examples of tethering that we can compare to our own chords to the Creator God.
The satellites that orbit our planet are held there by a very careful balance between the gravitational pull of the earth and the velocity of the satellite. Without this invisible ‘tether’ we would not be able to have these satellites orbit our earth and provide us with the numerous modern conveniences we have grown used to, like GPS, TV, accurate weather forecasts, or easy, instantaneous communication around the globe (so important in our current climate), just to name a handful of examples.
From satellites it’s a small step to start thinking about the astronauts that have been pioneers in exploring space. Astronauts, when they are working on the International Space Station, for example, will often have to perform repairs on the station. This requires them to leave the space station and go for a spacewalk. A spacewalk is an incredibly dangerous activity and, as well as wearing a space suit, the astronaut is tethered to the space station with a rope. This rope provides security and safety for the astronaut and stops him or her from floating off into the vast unknown of the universe, never to be seen again.
Just like we tether satellites to the earth and our astronauts to the space station, so we are tethered to God. Tethering helps us to stay firmly on the right path and not be left loose to float off into the vast, lonely, dark unknown. Especially during this time, I am so grateful for this invisible tether to God – one that offers me security, peace of mind and a way forward in this time of uncertainty, isolation and fear.