by Will Searcy –
This past week, I was listening to EWTN radio, and the hosts asked their listeners to share an experience with a piece of nature or creation that revealed God to them. There were some very good answers, ranging from animals to the Holy Land, and I spent some time considering what I could contribute. As I thought of all the amazing sights I have been blessed to be able to see, two stood out in my memory – a cross from Heaven and a cross made on Earth.
The first cross I’m referring to is the “Southern Cross.” Several years ago, my parents were kind enough to take my wife and me to South Africa to go on safari. The beauty of the nature surrounding us was astounding. When the guide told us as we were driving through the savannah in the black of night that we would stop to look at the Southern Cross, I knew we would be in for yet another treat.
Now, I have no eye for astronomy. Where people see constellations, I see a random scattering of stars. On a good day, I might spot the Big Dipper or Little Dipper, but I have never really been able to see much else. This inability has never prevented me from looking up at the stars in wonder, especially when all the earth is dark and still. Since the headlights of our truck were the only illumination on the ground within eyesight, I knew the stars would shine brightly in contrast to the inky black sky. Even with my rather high expectations, I never thought it would be as magnificent as it was.
I really cannot describe the Southern Cross, and a picture does not do it justice. What struck me was that the constellation felt so close. Those stars seemed even closer than our moon; so close it was as if they were within the earth’s atmosphere. They shone with such certainty as to appear to be as clear a statement as God could make. Jesus said in Matthew 28:18, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” and seeing those stars was such an affirmation of that truth. God ruled over the Earth, and the great portrait He painted in creating this world was signed with His distinctive signature.
But, there are certainly times in our lives when we look at the death, destruction, or chaos around us and wonder how God can be in charge. Perhaps one of our country’s most memorable examples of this occurred on September 11, 2001.
A few years ago, I visited the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Walking through the museum was like walking through a time machine. I was instantly back to the thoughts and emotions that I had at the time of those tragic events. I felt surrounded by the pain and grief of so many who lost loved ones and also the somber hope provided by the outpouring of love and support by so many people throughout the world and especially in New York.
As I made my way to the end of the museum, I came across something I had not recalled, but that I would never forget again. The “Ground Zero Cross” was found two days after September 11 as rescue crews searched for survivors. It was believed to be part of the North Tower’s infrastructure, and the iron cross beams now stood at the height of about 20 feet tall in the appearance of a cross. In the middle of the worst humanity had to offer in our fall from God’s grace, it was a reminder that God still rules the world, and He sent His only begotten Son to save us from our sin. I had goosebumps looking at that cross, and I have them now as I type.
To me, these two wonders, these two crosses, cover the entire spectrum of earth’s existence. God created the heavens long before mankind existed, and He exists today in mankind’s greatest creations. Even as our world seems to be crashing down all around us and everything is crumbling into dust, God is constant. He not only has conquered death, He not only has conquered the worst of what the world could throw at him, but He is there in the midst of our pain, holding us in the palm of His hand and promising a day when our tears will be wiped away and we will live in the fullness of God.