Just a couple weeks ago, Carol and I were blessed to visit our son and his wife and four children who were spending several weeks in Florida and had room for us to come down for about a week. It was a great break in the middle of the “polar vortex” that was going on all around us when we left.
The second evening we were there we took a ride over to the gulf side to watch the sunset over the western shore. It’s nearly impossible to describe what a contrast that was to where we had been just 36 hours before that! As the sun gently slipped toward the horizon and eventually disappeared behind that straight horizon line, the people on the beach who were there to watch raised up a significant level of applause. Perhaps they were celebrating it’s beauty, perhaps they were acknowledging that there is still order in our world even when there seems to be so many things that aren’t under control.
I was more interested in the response of the grandchildren that were there. The four year old twins just continued to chase the surf up and down and look for shells and so on and hardly noticed the sunset. The seven year old watched and turned and said to Carol, “I thought it would make some kind of sizzle when it hit the water”… and the ten year old mentioned how pretty it was but didn’t seem to be too moved. As we were walking back across the beach toward our car, she picked up a couple handfuls of sand and I saw a moment where I could interject something that perhaps she hadn’t understood before.
“Ellie,” I said, “do you know that scientists today and astronomers specifically tell us that there are more stars in the universe that we know than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on our planet earth?” She said, “Wait, what?” So I repeated it again and encouraged her just to let the sand filter through her fingers. She thought pensively about this for ten seconds or so and then blurted out, “Wow! Like, I can’t even wrap my head around that.” That led to a rather interesting conversation about other things that we know about God that we “can’t wrap our heads around” like the fact that He was never created but always here.
The fact is that we can’t wrap our heads around numbers like that. I knew that was an accurate statement from doing a little study on it seven or eight years ago which you can easily google or find on some other platform. In truth, however, when I reconfirmed my research I realized I was a little bit off. More recent studies show that there are about 70 septillion stars, or 70 with 24 zeros after that.
However, simple numbers like that can’t compare with walking through the sand on one beach in one tiny little part of the earth and realizing what our scientists are telling us. In fact, by the way, latest statistics would confirm that there are 10,000 stars per grain of sand?! There is no way to fully comprehend this. So why does God make such an incredibly unimaginable statement about His power that even our scientists have to concede?
Perhaps it’s because God wants to give us a visible and measurable sense of perspective of His vastness, His greatness and His potential capability.
In Psalm 139 the scripture reveals the three most powerful but intangible aspects of God’s character that we must learn to embrace. Our God is omniscient, that is He knows everything that there is to know about what’s going on with our lives in every moment of every day throughout the entire known world. Second, our God is omnipresent which means that we will find Him wherever we go, that we can never hide from Him, and that He will never lose us or lose track of where we need to be. The third is His omnipotence which in verses 13-18 He describes in detail not by describing the armies and the powers of the world that He’s defeated but rather by pointing out how He personally forms and shapes us in our mother’s womb and is involved in the very act of creation of our own lives down to every intimate detail.
This has a great deal of meaning when it comes to whether one is pro-life or not… but it is the gold standard of God’s level of involvement in the creation of human life.
So I want to encourage you as you may be facing situations where you don’t know what to do, remember that God is all-knowing. If you’re feeling lost and somewhat unclear about where you are to be, God is omnipresent and if you listen for Him He will guide your steps to that specific place where He’ll be there waiting for you. And finally, if you’re feeling underpowered, unable to accomplish what you feel needs to be done or simply overwhelmed by circumstances in life, there’s nothing that God cannot do for each and every one of us.
The sun may not sizzle when it meets the horizon line in the ocean, but most assuredly as the stars appear in the heavens, keeping in mind that on a clear night we can only see between 6,000-7,000 stars in our galaxy, God has made a statement about how great He is and how inconceivably knowing, present and powerful He is. And yet at the same time He loves you and me with the love that is every bit as immeasurable as the heavens above. He is, indeed, an Almighty and all loving Heavenly Father.