Those of you who know me might know that I am interested in the stars.
The sky at night has always fascinated me, ever since I was little. I could lie for hours on my back on the ground just gazing up at that velvet dark blue canvas with the multitude of delicate sparkles of light and occasional faint wisp of silvery mist. I can totally agree with the Psalmist who wrote The heavens declare the glory of God …
I find many things to think about when I look at the stars. Their distance astounds me and humbles me. The closest star to us is Proxima Centauri, a little over 4 light years away. That means that the light we see from it today left the star over four years ago, in 2003, and has been shooting towards us all that time a tthe speed of light (300,000km/hr). The furthest objects visible in the most powerful telescopes, quasars, are 12,000,000,000 light years away. How big is the universe? Unbelievabley, mind-blowingly, unimaginabley HUGE!!! So how big are we, the great human race? We are nothing. We could blow up our whole planet and the universe wouldn’t even notice – we’d be no more than mosquito’s sneeze in the grand tale of time.
That’s a good thing to remember, for we sometimes think we are the centre of the universe. Sometimes we even think that of ourselves individually, not even as a human race. That’s just not true. The greatest among us is still no more than a little blip in this cosmos. Again, the Psalmist asks God What is man, that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You visit him? We could extend that to ask, What are the problems of man, that You should care for them? Yet God does care. The God who made this big, big universe shows me His love by caring for my tiny little problems in the midst of this huge cosmos, and I find comfort in the fact that He who moves the galaxies can solve my little problem pretty easily.
Lying on the ground at night, gazing into the depths of space, you can sometimes convince yourself that you are indeed on the surface of a planet hurtling through the void. Yet night after night, as the sun hides his shining face and the little specks of light begin to peek from behind their veil of light, you find they have not moved. In our lifetimes, the stars do not move. Planets do, and the moon does, and perhaps the odd comet or so, but the vast multitude of the heavens is there, day after day, unchanging, unmoving, fixed in their places, it seems eternally. No power hungry dictator, no mad scientist, no crazed anarchist can ever change them, or even touch them. It makes you realise just how feeble we are on this little planet, but I also find it a greatly comforting thought, for it reflects the unchanging steady nature of God Himself. I find the stars reassuring every night, in their regular places, and so also God reassures me every day, as I move through my human phases while He remains always a solid rock to navigate by.
Next time you happen to be outdoors at night, take a look up at the sky, and remember the One who created it for us, the most incredible roof anyone ever designed …