A few weeks ago, our young people’s group looked at space. As part of our session, we watched a fairly mind-blowing short video, which showed just how vast it is (if you want to watch it, this is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkQWpQd9Zdo). We learned, for example, that the sun is a million times bigger than earth, but that the largest star – VY Canis Majoris (which roughly translates as ‘Very Big Dog’) – has a diameter 2,000 times larger than the sun!
But nothing compares to the size of a galaxy. If our solar system is a 20p piece, than the Milky Way is roughly the size of the USA. Seriously. That is big.
So big, in fact, we can’t comprehend it. It’s better to keep these thoughts as numbers and images, because no-one can really fathom this kind of scale in any meaningful way. Except God.
‘He also made the stars.’ (v17) This short phrase, offered almost as a throwaway, has to be one of the most incredible verses of all scripture. It barely merits a mention, and yet represents a feat of creation far beyond anything we can imagine. Carl Sagan once mused that the total number of stars in the universe would likely be as many as the grains of sand on the whole face of the earth. Next time you’re at the beach, scoop up a handful of sand and contemplate that.
What does this really mean? Simply this: our God is a great big God. Plenty big enough for our doubts and fears, plenty big enough for our problems – and the world’s. And if that is true, then he is well able to hold us in his hand, even in these dark and confusing times.
It has never been more important to seize this glorious truth: our God is a great big God. Let’s place ourselves in this God’s hands today, and comfort ourselves in the vastness of his presence. Let’s pray big prayers to a big God. He also made the stars!
As we begin this series today, let me finish with the words of a famous hymn, and may it also be your prayer, as it is mine:
Thou whose Almighty word chaos and darkness heard – and took their flight.
Hear us we humbly pray, and where the gospel day sheds not its glorious ray:
Let there be light! Amen.