Friday, November 3, 2017

DEVOTION ~ Once Upon a Starry Night

Upcoming Launch

During this month of November, I anticipate the launching of my book, Miriam Part 2 ~ Gifted Leader. This is number 4 in the Out of the Shadow series. 

When I embarked on the journey with Miriam, I questioned whether I would find enough to write about to complete an e-book similar in length to Naomi and Eve, the first two books in the series. 

To my amazement, one book became two. Miriam ~ Devoted Sister was published several months ago, and now at last Miriam - Gifted Leader is about to go live.

Is this right?

These books are written in narrative non-fiction, a genre that allows my creative juices to get involved with real live characters. When I first started the series, someone said to me, "I don't think you should add any details that are not in the Bible. It's not right!"

I replied, "Well, then I must just give people the Bible passage to read."

My goal for this series is to ease some of the women who live under the shadow of another person or situation, and introduce her to my readers. As we identify with those ladies of so long ago, the Bible becomes alive and we find they have much to teach us.

The night sky

A  couple of weeks ago, I experienced a moment through the eyes of Miriam that spoke into my life. It was a particularly dark moonless night. The inky sky overhead was dotted with millions of tiny stars.

I remembered a scene in my book where Miriam is lying on her back in the entrance to her tent, staring at the night sky overhead. The children of Israel were in the deserts of Egypt, making their way toward the Red Sea. There were no lights in the camp, save the flickering of flames dotted around the acres of ground taken up by tents without number belonging to the weary Israelites. 

Men sat by the fires, keeping watch. There were no other lights.  It was far darker than Miriam remembered when she was back home in Goshen. Stars twinkled in their millions overhead.

Promise to Abraham

Miriam thought back to the promise God gave to Abraham, that one day he would have as many descendants as there were stars in the sky. 

"How could that be?" she wondered. "Is that how many we are?"

Fast forward several millennia. Move from a dark night in the Egyptian desert to a sunny African day near the coast. Not a cloud in the sky. A merciless sun beat down. Its rays threatened to scorch the blades of grass that struggled to survive the drought which starved the land of life-giving moisture. 

I gazed into the sky and marveled. Where were the stars now? I knew there were still there. But even if I strained my eyes, I couldn't see one of them. 

Miriam may well have thought they went to sleep during the day, but I knew better. Yet for all that, I couldn't see any evidence of stars that bright sunny day.

Two startling thoughts

That moment gave me two startling thoughts.

1) I knew they were there. I believed by faith they were there. My faith didn't need proof, because I knew they'd show up again when it became night. 

How often, the Lord encourages us to walk in His light. In the light of knowing that He's there, even though we can't see Him. And the assurance that He will be there for me when my life gets dark, as it does periodically.

2) Sometimes, when life is good and no clouds of grief or illness hang over us, it is more difficult to "see the stars". Yet when life gets dark, we can see the glory of the heavens if we look for it. We realize that God's been there all along, waiting for us to look up and see Him in a way we don't see Him when things are going well. 

A Word from the Psalms

Psalm 23 reminds us that "even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you are with me, Your rod and staff comfort me." We only find the rod and staff in the valley of death. 

So when things get tough, my friend, when life seems to be so dark it can't get worse, look up. Look for the stars. Those tiny pinpricks of light that God sprinkles around us to reassure us. "Don't be afraid. I am here."

How about you?

What is the night sky like where you live? And where is that?

SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast of South Africa with her husband, Rob. She has recently embarked on a series of eBooks titled, Out of the Shadow.

Please visit Shirley through ShirleyCorder.comwhere she encourages writers, or at  RiseAndSoar.comwhere she encourages those in the cancer valley. You can also meet with her on Twitter or FaceBook.

Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer contains 90 meditations for those facing cancer.


  1. I always find God seems closest too us during difficult times, but I wonder if that's because we turn to him and seek him more deeply than we do when things are easy.

    1. Yes, I'm sure that's it, Leanne. When things are going well we think we can go it alone. Thanks for the visit.

  2. I live in an urban area. I have lived in urban areas, where the stars are barely visible, for almost all of my life. The first time I ever saw a sky in a rural area, I was amazed and delighted. Yes, so much is hidden from us - and it is hidden from u by us. Alana

    1. Yes Alana, I had the same experience. The first night I spent on a remote campsite miles from city life, I couldn't get over the magnificence of the night sky.

  3. Shirley I have a belief that gOd lets us find the people who can help us or we can help.Through lessons we have learned or will learn.This review is like a message.Thank you so much for such an insightful review .
    The sky where I live is sometimes a very deep black and the clouds hide the stars.But I know they are there .The following passage para is priceless.
    "Sometimes, when life is good and no clouds of grief or illness hang over us, it is more difficult to "see the stars". Yet when life gets dark, we can see the glory of the heavens if we look for it. We realize that God's been there all along, waiting for us to look up and see Him in a way we don't see Him when things are going well."
    So very glad I read this today .

    1. Thank you for your input, Amrita, as well as your positive comments. Yes, of course, we do get the dark nights when there are also clouds. But as you said, you KNOW the stars are there! Sometimes in our daily walk we forget that, don't we?

  4. Wonderful words of encouragement, Shirl! Thank you for sharing. I love stories that bring to light people of the Bible and reminds us that they were real people searching for God and his truth as well. Congrats on the new books!

    1. Thank you, Lisa. Yes I love books that bring the Bible to life and point out ways I can draw closer to God.

  5. What a wonderful analogy, Shirl. I really enjoyed reading this devotion, and being reminded once again that God is always with us. Reminds me of a particularly difficult time we had in Tuscany. As my husband and I sat weeping in the dark over the hard situation facing us, we noticed little pinpricks of light ... fireflies. It was as if God was just reminding us that as hopeless as the situation seemed, He always brings light into our darkness.

    Congratulations on your new release and I look forward to seeing what the next book in this series will be.

    1. Thanks, Marion. The next book in the series is going to be a 365 day devotional book on Biblical women who lived in the shadows. It is fairly far along the road already, but I am taking a break after Miriam 2 launches so I can turn the first few in the series into print form.

  6. Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment. What is your night sky like, I wonder?