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Starstruck—I Can't Help It!

Recently, a Facebook friend posted a progression of twenty-eight slides that provided perspective on the universe’s vastness. One of the slides showed a very small black area in the night sky, a tenth of the size of our moon, that had been a focal point for the Hubble telescope for four months in 2003 (see below). What the Hubble revealed were an infinite number of illuminated dots, each representing an entire galaxy.

Psalm 19:1
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.

Since the inception of autumn, my attention has been drawn to the night sky. The fall and winter months in rural Maine exhibit some of the most amazing conditions for viewing our Father’s heavenly handiwork. While enjoying “Earth’s ethereal armor,”1 I often find my mind wandering to the words of wisdom in Psalm 8:

Psalm 8:3
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which You have ordained...

Additionally, looking through the eyes of my two-and-a-half-year-old grandson has rekindled my childlike faith and amazement for God’s magnitude in ways I never expected. A few months ago, Kirk came to spend the night with us, so my husband planned a star-gazing event for late in the evening. Paul laid a tarp on the ground, covered it with a big sleeping bag, and even included pillows and a blanket for our viewing comfort. After putting on jackets, hats, and mittens (as was seasonally appropriate), Kirk and I went out to join “Umpa” for our astronomical adventure. We laid down, snuggled between the covers, and just looked up—silent and in awe.
Once our eyes adjusted to the low light, the magnificence and brilliance of the heavens above illuminated our thinking. Kirk responded to this visual overload with a “Wow, Nana! Look at all the stars! Umpa, you need to take a picture with your phone!” Though Umpa had to explain it was too dark for his phone camera to capture this stellar show, we got the message: This was a scene too glorious not to photograph. Without prompting, Kirk added in the most expressive voice he could muster, “Nana, God made the stars!” Out of the mouths of babes...

Why is it that a child under the age of 3 can state the obvious without a hint of reservation, yet grown adults will try to reason away the idea that an all-powerful,
all-knowing, all-encompassing and creative God made this unfathomable light show for our pleasure and His glory?

I am no astronomer, but when I check out just some of the information available to us through scientific discoveries about outer space, the origins seem quite self-explanatory. Let’s look at just a few from the Hubble slides discussed earlier:
  • Each of the galaxies revealed contain up to 1 trillion (1,000,000,000,000) stars!
  • Each star may also have a system of planets (much like our own Milky Way galaxy).
  • In one slide, there are over 10,000 galaxies revealed.
  • The large galaxy pictured below contains eight times as many stars as our Milky Way Galaxy. It is so large, it technically shouldn’t exist according to current physics theories.2
That’s just a bit of perspective about the expanse of the heavens. This is where the word “awesome” is truly appropriate. And in Psalm 147, between reminding us that God heals the brokenhearted and declaring His greatness and power, the psalmist writes:

Psalm 147:4
He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name.

Say what? The capacity of my human eyes and brain to even see the stars stops at about 5,000, and trying to count just that many would result in multiple errors each time I lost my place and had to start over. God not only counts them—trillions upon trillions of them—but calls them ALL by name! Almost unbelievably, this insight pales in comparison to Genesis 1: 16b where it says, "He made the stars also"; as if making this part of His creation was an afterthought! Now, picture me doing the “mind blown” gesture here. 
But wait, there's more. This incomprehensible God who knows all and has power over everything LOVES me. Let’s go back to Psalm 8 and read what follows verse 3: “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that you visit him?” (Psalm 8:4).
I want to encourage you to watch the video included here—one that definitely bears repeating—as a reminder of how very much the Lord of the universe loves you.
To summarize these thoughts, let me put it this way: He—the One who created and knows the names of a “kazillion” stars—loves me, and YOU, not just a little, but SO MUCH that He gave His only Son to satisfy the requirements of our redemption (1 John 4:10; 1 Peter 1:17–21). 
Understand that you and I have done NOTHING to deserve this love and sacrifice … absolutely nothing. Nor can we. In this truth, I stand amazed—starstruck actually—that God did all this for me, for you, for the world. John 15:13 reminds us that "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."
And just like the vast expanse of the stars in the universe, His love is beyond my understanding.

Ephesians 3:19–21
To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge ... Now to Him who is able
to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,
... to Him be glory, ... forever and ever.

1This phrase was coined by astronomer, Mark Clarke.
2Adam Mann, “One Number Shows Something Is Fundamentally Wrong with Our Conception of the Universe” Space.com (September 3, 2019). This article is fascinating in that it shows yet another example in which scientists have to change their narrative of how our universe is put together while the Bible narrative is once again confirmed (Genesis 1 and Job 9:7-9, for example). I encourage you to read it for yourself at https://www.space.com/hubble-constant-discrepancy -explained.html.
To answer more of the questions you may have about God, creation, and the Bible, I encourage you to purchase a copy of our book, Did Jesus Commit Suicide? And 27 Other Questions Teens Are Asking about the Bible (That Adults Want to Know, Too) by clicking HERE.
Holly Varnum, Director of Curriculum Development at Reasons for Hope joined us September 2021 to launch curricular materials to support many of our media resources. With degrees in education, curriculum and instruction, and educational administration, she comes with over three decades of experience in working with teens and adults in camp ministry, teaching and administration, and curriculum writing (A Beka Book, Focus on the Family, and Answers in Genesis to name a few). God has provided her with a well-rounded educational perspective through service in Christian schools, charter schools, public schools, Christian camps, and local church ministry. She has been a classroom teacher, instructional coach, administrator, camp counselor, Sunday School teacher, ladies’ Bible Study teacher, and conference speaker and looks forward to using her passion for God’s truth within the context of Reasons for Hope.

Her hobbies include cooking and baking, hiking, camping, travel, and working on do-it-yourself projects. Holly and her husband, Paul, (RforH’s new Director of Media Content) also enjoy any time they can spend with their three grown daughters, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren (so far!). They live in the beautiful state of Maine, and yes, eat lobster (properly pronounced “lobstah”) whenever they get a chance!

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