“The Lord God took Abram outside and said,
‘Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can.
Just so,’ he added, ‘shall your descendants be.’
Abram put his faith in the LORD,
who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.”
From an elevation of 6,700 feet on a trail near the Philmont Scout Ranch base camp in northern New Mexico on a crystal clear night with low humidity, no moon, and little light pollution, I looked up at the night sky overwhelmed by the beauty of the stars and the amazing swath of brightness from horizon to horizon that is the galactic plane of the Milky Way. It was awesome in the most profound sense of awe inspiring. I felt both insignificant in the face of such beauty, immense distances from the stars, and the time necessary for light to travel so that I could see it on that night, and connected to the universe in an intimate way, there at that moment in that place. I sensed who I was and who I wasn’t. It was a personal experience of the transcendent and I cried (just a bit). I counted it as a gift from God.