Joy is like the stars. Some nights they blaze in glory; other nights they’re covered by clouds. But they’re always there. Since childhood, I’ve loved the stars. I loved them before I loved the God who made them. Loving God causes me to delight in the stars not less but more—partly because I can’t look at them without thinking of Him and partly because I know He loves His creation. When I enjoy the stars, I pay Him a compliment and join in His enjoyment.
It won’t matter whether stars are visible if you don’t put yourself in a position to see them. Walk away from the Internet, open the door, step outside, and look at God’s creative productions—most of which are free to behold.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) wrote, “If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore. . . . But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”
Clyde Kilby (1902–1986) wrote a list of personal resolutions to help him stay alive to the beauty of God’s world around him. Here are two of them:
At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me. . . . I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are, but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their “divine, magical, terrifying, and ecstatic” existence.
As I write this, I’m looking up from my computer at a photo I took underwater. It reminds me of the sheer delight of my unforgettable ninety-minute encounter with a wonderful monk seal I named Molly. Whenever I look at Molly’s photo, my heart fills with joyful memories and longing for the New Earth’s joy and the days that await us. That anticipation gives me a harvest of happiness today.
Charles Spurgeon said,
I confess I have no sympathy with the good man, who, when he went down the Rhine, dived into the cabin that he might not see the river and the mountains lest he should be absorbed in them and forget his Savior. I like to see my Savior on the hills and by the shores of the sea! I hear my Father’s voice in the thunder and listen to the whispers of His love in the cadence of the sunlit waves. These are my Father’s works and, therefore, I admire them and I seem all the nearer to Him when I am among them.
Spurgeon went on to say these profound words about finding happiness in this world:
If I were a great artist, I would think it a very small compliment if my son came into my house and said he would not notice the pictures I had painted because he only wanted to think of me. He therein would condemn my paintings, for if they were good for anything, he would be rejoiced to see my hand in them! Oh, but surely, everything that comes from the hand of such a Master Artist as God has something in it of Himself! The Lord rejoices in His works and shall not His people do so?
 Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature and Selected Essays (New York: Penguin, 1982), 37.
 Clyde Kilby’s resolutions, as cited in John Piper, The Pleasures of God (Colorado Springs: Multnomah, 2000), 95–96.
 Ibid., 95.
 Charles H. Spurgeon, “God Rejoicing in the New Creation” (Sermon #2211).