The planet, Venus, is notorious for troubling the peace. It looks like a large, bright object and when it is low in the evening sky, it is often distorted by earth’s atmospheric disturbances.

It seems to travel or to dance or to change colour and people are sometimes alarmed by this apparently moving, gyrating, bright light. They think it is some mysterious energy, perhaps from outer space, perhaps invading planet earth, or perhaps with some strange significance they don’t understand.

Worried observers often ask us about it and they are always more than curious. They will admit being intrigued and a few admit to being fearful. Some will even admit to being afraid to go outdoors in case it is an alien intrusion.

My husband is an amateur astronomer with a keen interest in photographing the sky so he is very aware of the atmosphere and we understand as much as we can about the conditions that cause such a deception. We speak gently to people when they ask about it. Fear sometime turns their thoughts to God and they are always surprised by the simplicity of the explanation that earth's atmosphere is playing tricks with reality.

When we are afraid, it is wise to understand as much as we can about the conditions that cause our fear. God speaks gently and comforts us because ‘as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him,’ Psalm 103:11.

So no wonder Jesus said "love God with all your heart, mind and strength and your neighbour as yourself." (Luke 10:27)

God’s love is greater than delusion or fear and it is even greater than our faith or any hopes we have. Paul said so clearly that love is greater than faith or hope; "the greatest of these is love," he said, (1st Corinthians 13:13).

God’s love for us stabilises the atmosphere around us and also our thoughts.

Elizabeth Price