One thing that I love more than almost anything about coming home is escaping the haze of city smog and the light pollution that keeps San Jose covered in a shroud that conceals the stars from our view. And while midnight gazing at city lights from a high point above the bustle down below certainly provides a sense of awe at the magnitude of the sprawling city that houses 1 million people, nothing is quite like marveling at the heavenly expanse that could have been created by the word and will of God alone.
Current estimates suggest that our universe is 150 billion light years in diameter, filled with hundreds of billions of galaxies (a most recent estimate says over 500 billion galaxies), and our own Milky Way galaxy contained somewhere between 200 to 400 billion stars. The average number of stars in any galaxy is between 100 billion and 1 trillion. With that average estimate, the number of the stars is between 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 and 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. That’s a lot of stars. It could be as much as one trillion times a trillion stars occupying 150 billion light years of space, all put there by a God who knows their name, set them in motion, and upholds their existence at every moment by a power that I doubt any of us will ever be able to comprehend in the slightest.
And that same God who created the stars with a mere word and enables them to exist at every moment also governs out lives with the same care. Or did you think that it was your lungs that allow you to breathe? On the contrary, He is not “served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25). Everything that we do is enabled by the sovereign appointment of God who enables us to exist and move and breathe and live in each successive moment: For it’s in him that we all live and move and having our being (Acts 17:28).
Check out this clip from R.C. Sproul on God’s relationship to our existence:
I just got back home after completing my junior year at Santa Clara University and, after talking for a few hours with my dad about everything that happened this year, I walked outside and looked up and saw the stars for the first time in a few months and didn’t even know what to say. I didn’t really have any words. What could I possible do to express the magnitude of what I was seeing? But it hit me. That much I know.
So, I took my puppy dog with me on a walk and found a nice place that was dark to sit and stare at the stars unimpeded by the orange street light next to my house. And then I just talked to God about everything: this year, all of the exciting good times, the victories, the sin and foolish decisions, all of the laughter, crying, regrets, and the excitement and fear for the future. This was an eventful year to say the least.
But through it all—the good, the bad, and the ugly—I feel like I can have an absolute assurance in the God who formed the stars and who promises to keep me: “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 1:24-25).
I got to see the work of His hands and marvel at the power He must have… it’s breathtaking. It’s beyond anything I could ever dream of. And then I got to marvel at His promises to me, His child that was adopted because of the blood of Christ, that He would keep me as His own and protect me from falling off this narrow path that He set me on. The one who makes the stars and holds them in His hand is applying that same power for my own good, keeping and protecting me, and making me love Him more and better each day.
How can we have any doubt or fear? Why do we worry about our futures—what we’ll do, how we’ll make enough money, who we’ll love and marry? Do we not realize who He is? Do we not realize what He’s done? Do we not believe that, if He can make the stars, that He can also save us and work our lives out for good in spite of our sin and foolishness?
All news is good news when we have Him as our God. Nothing is by accident. Nothing is for nothing.
There’s a lot in my near future that is uncertain and unsure. I know the convictions God has put in my heart and what I believe He intends to do with me. I will hold out hope and trust that the things I believe He will do and the things I believe He is calling me to. But, no matter what happens, whether or not He lets me have the things my heart hope and dream for and the things that I think must be from Him, I trust that He works for good in my life. I trust that He will bring about everything according to the perfect counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11). And He will keep me and make me more like His Son every day.
Keep me, Lord. Make me Yours. Sanctify me by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Embolden me with passion for your Gospel of grace. Let me love with intensity and serve with sacrifice. Make my tomorrow different than my yesterdays. Let my sin decrease and my faith increase. Lord, I believe… help me with my unbelief. Lead me not into temptation. Deliver me from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and all authority and power and dominion and majesty and glory, now and forever. Amen.
Click here to see some amazing galleries of Hubble Telescope images! Here are a few cool pictures below.