Friday, July 20, 2012

The Heavens Declare — Part 5

Note: I debated about not posting this next part of this series today in light of the massacre in Colorado last night. But, as I reflected on it I thought that it is at times like these—at least for me, and maybe for others—that I actually need to be reminded of (and grounded in) how big God is. When the pain and horror and fear and evil that so many in the world are facing every day is brought more forcibly to our attention and closer to home—and when we face times of uncertainty, loss, and fear—it is then we most need to be reminded that God's love for us and our eternal life with Him as Christians is secure and bigger than the world's reach. It is at times like this that we must be reminded that God has defeated death and that nothing that happens to the body of a Christian can remove His eternal life. It is at times like this that we must be reminded that there is a hope for all men and women, and it resides in a God who spans the universe and who is not defeated by the presence of evil. It is at times like this that we must remember that God watched His Son die on the cross at the hands of evil and men, and He acutely knows the pain of loss and of watching loved ones suffer. If I misjudged and shouldn't have posted today, please forgive me. I was not trying to be insensitive.

Our Universe
There are an estimated hundreds of billions of GALAXIES (not just stars!) in the universe. One supercomputer estimates there might be 500 billion galaxies out there (all  diverse and unique)! The NASA web site says “Hubble observed a tiny patch of sky (one-tenth the diameter of the moon) . . . and found approximately 10,000 galaxies, of all sizes, shapes, and colors. From the ground, we see very little in this spot . . .” A large cD galaxy can be 10 times brighter than the Milky Way, and can have a diameter of 6 million light-years across—60 times larger than the Milky Way! (Remember from an earlier post that if our solar system was the size of a quarter the Milky Way would go from the east to west coast of the United States? Well, if I did the math right, a galaxy like this would wrap around the Earth about seven times using this same scale!)  IC 1101, the biggest galaxy we’ve found as of 2009, and is thought to have 100 trillion stars in it alone, and some astronomers are estimating there might be 300 sextillion stars in our universe (that’s a 3 with 23 zeroes after it)! Honestly, the numbers just keep getting bigger the better our telescopes get, which makes sense to me because since the Heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork, and God’s glory knows no end, it makes sense the heavens wouldn’t either! Astronomers don’t even know if our universe is finite (has an edge) or infinite, or if there are other universes, but one estimate puts our universe at 150 billion light-years in diameter—that’s 186,000 miles per second for 150 billion years to cross it!

God Thought #1: Hebrews 11:3 declares unequivocally that, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” By faith . . . not having seen it happen, we believe that God spoke and all the universe was. By faith, in times like these, we trust in His goodness, His power, His love, and His victory, though we don't always see it manifest around us—and at times it seems to be mocked by the world's circumstances. We also take heart that He did not require anything physical to make the universe from. His Word was all that was required. That means we don't need to see the physical building blocks for a solution to the problems we face. God can bring solutions forth from nothing!

God Thought #2: Psalm 8:3-4 says, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” The stars remind us how big God is, and the Bible reminds us He is mindful of each of us even with the universe measured by the spans of His hand. Even when it doesn't feel like it He is mindful of each of us, and there is great comfort in that!

Thank you, Lord, for your love shown on the cross and your power over darkness shown in the empty tomb. Thank you that you are far bigger than this world and Creation itself, and yet you love us and are mindful of us. Please comfort the hurting, heal the wounded, and turn hearts towards You and the gift of Your Son, Jesus, on the cross.

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