It was pitch black. All we could see through the windows as we rolled along the desert highway were the occasional headlights of other cars as they sped by—that and a blanket of stars expanding overhead all the way down to the horizon across the dark, flat landscape. No one in the car made a sound as we stared in awed silence at the dazzling dome above. I’d never seen anything like it in my life. No night sky came close to this one. I thought at any moment the car might simply lift up into that sparkling dream world, it was so bright and close.
The silence was broken by our driver. He began to hum. A moment later he began to sing quietly in Arabic, his native language. It took a moment, because the words were strange to us, but we quickly recognized the melody. The verse was playing in English in my head, and before I knew it, I was singing too.
“O Lord my God,
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds thy hands have made,
I see the stars,
I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.”
My friend, Kim, sitting next to me, joined in.
“Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!”
We were belting it out by then, Arabic and English voices melting together, our souls deeply moved. In that moment, God was showing me something. Here we were, in the middle of this complete and utter desert, worshiping the same God as we stared at the same starry night and marveled at His handiwork. With tears in our eyes, we were struck by how small we were and how great our God is. It was raw and beautiful, simple and meaningful all at once.
This experience came at the end of a long week. We’d spent the days before visiting the often makeshift homes of Syrian refugees—both of new believers and those who needed to hear the gospel—guided by our local partners and believers who also served as translators.
We heard stories of heartache and loss, sickness and death. After many visits, we came away burdened. After others, we came away encouraged by the hunger young believers had for the Word of God. It was indescribably eye-opening and humbling. We could never understand or relate to what they went through, but we knew their need for the hope found only in Jesus was as great as ours.
We prayed for the words and Bible stories to share with them beforehand and prayed for each person we met afterward. In some cases, we were simply unprepared and felt we hadn’t meditated on God’s Word enough prior to going. In my case, I frequently bumbled my way around the stories I wanted to tell or simply felt at a loss for words. I shared my fear of saying the wrong thing or not using the best stories that would translate well culturally with our local partner, and He gently reminded me of our inadequacy and God’s faithfulness to use our obedience and imperfection for His glory. We steeped everything in prayer. And I learned something about how God goes before those who seek Him first.
At the end of an exhausting and emotionally draining week, we took the road to Petra and stared up at that extraordinary night sky.
How precious is our God, that He would give us these sweet moments to remind us not only of His might and sovereignty, but of His goodness and beauty. How kind is He, that He would give us these memories to carry with us, to move our hearts to long for Him above all else.
How much love must He have for us, small though we may be? He brought us across the world to meet these people—both our local friends and those who needed to hear of His hope—not for any difference we could make in and of ourselves, but for the work He could do in each of us because of our meeting.
Cassie Moore and her Husband, Josh, first came to Brook Hills in 2008 and, aside from their year in Austin, Texas, have been invested in their small group since 2013. They have an eight-month-old baby girl named Lucy. Cassie served on Staff at Brook Hills on the Communications team 2017-2018 and also serves in the Preschool Ministry, while Josh serves with the Tech team on Sunday mornings.