Sometimes when I think about the immensity of the universe I am both overwhelmed and humbled. This line of thinking also leads to a fuller joy, security, and boldness.
Consider the huge and complex dance:
The universe is so incredibly big many scientists believe it doesn’t even have an end. Our small, finite minds have a problem comprehending that. It is really hard to register the endlessness of anything. That is one reason, it is so hard to really fathom the enormity of what we know or guess is out there.
Space and spatial bodies are so large the measurement of light-years is used. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. One year’s worth of those seconds comes to almost 6 trillion miles. Well, the average galaxy is about 1,500 to 300,000 light-years. That’s huge!
There are hundreds of billions of galaxies in this universe. Each of these galaxies contains hundreds of billions of stars. In addition, they contain lots of other bodies and substances. We live in the Milky Way galaxy, which is a spiral galaxy. That means it has several arms coming out from a hub and it looks like it is spiraling like a whirlpool. It is about 100,000 light years in diameter.
We live relatively close to the edge of this whirlpool in a minor arm called the Orion Spur in the Solar System. Our Solar System lies on the outskirts of this arm. For the size of the galaxy, our Solar System seems really small. Scientists estimate the Solar System is between 7,348,981,944 and 9,320,567,882 miles in diameter. Within this expanse are a number of familiar bodies: the Sun, the planets, moons, comets, asteroids, and meteoroids.
One of these eight planets is Earth—our Earth. As far as we know, it is the only place in the universe that sustains life. At this point in time, there are about 7.6 billion people inhabiting the earth. These 7.6 billion people are spread throughout 195 countries on 7 continents. Zoom to your continent. Zoom to your country. Zoom to your city. Zoom to your street. Zoom into your house, dorm, apartment, igloo, whatever. We have come to you.
This is a very, very, very brief description of the universe. All of this grandeur of the heavens and the earth came to us from God Himself. God was the creator of it all (Genesis 1:1)!
Yes, we are a teeny-tiny part of it all. In essence, each one of us is a speck on a speck (the world) on a speck (the Solar system) on a speck (the Milky Way galaxy) on a speck (that’s right, the endless universe is a speck in the mind of God). We are less than nothing, but the sovereign God who is the omnipotent Creator of the universe, the divine choreographer of this great complexity yearns to have a personal, intimate relationship with you. You! He is the endlessness beyond the endlessness who cared for you before you were born, who cares about every aspect of your present life, and who wants to be forever with you after death.
Did I mention this is the God of the universe? That part needs all the emphasis in, well, the universe. Sometimes it seems we forget that part. We are mere specks and know so little. As mere, selfish specks we do not even deserve His attention. For some reason He gives it. For some reason, He cares for our lives—both this and the next. How is this not a reason for a greater joy and boldness? The God behind the endlessness is at work in you!
*A version of this article was originally published at The Brink Online.