In the latter months of a 2007 winter, I was traveling back to my apartment in St. Louis, MO from my school in Hillsboro. The way to and from involved about thirty minutes of nothing but a long, winding highway and music became my closest companion during these trips. As I was fighting the chill in the air with firm blasts of heat from behind two headlights that hardly pierced the night, something caught my attention at the corner of my eye. Thinking that I may have finally seen an unidentified flying object, I immediately pulled over and shut the car off.
In seconds, the lights were darkened and I stepped out onto the highway, alone, between two cliff sides, in the dark and for the first time in twenty-five plus years I saw the expanse of the clear night sky. Sure, there were countless clear nights in my years of life, but only specks of stars lit the sky itself. No, it was at this moment that the expanse of the sky opened before me and every star in the universe seemed to peek out from behind whatever veil hid them from my eyes for the two plus decades of my life. It would be easy to say that the chill of the evening air was too difficult to take in, but this sight stole my breath away.
From what I could find, the Earth is something like 1 Sextillion times larger than a human being and the sun is 1.3 million times larger than the earth. The sun could fit into the solar system some 8-9000 times and our solar system happens to be a mere speck of “dust” on an arm of the Milky Way, which is one of a countless number of galaxies in a universe which is even more incomprehensible in size. Needless to say, we are very tiny things on a very big thing, which is eclipsed by much bigger things in a bigger thing, which is, itself, contained within a big part of a bigger thing, which is also contained in the biggest thing of all things. Calling one another a “speck” by comparison, demeans the incredible girth of specks everywhere.
It was as I leaned against the trunk of my car that I was confronted with the deep and weighty realization that I am not nearly big enough to be a mere speck in the universe; yet, the Creator of existence itself, even my small wisp of an existence, loved me so much that He gave what was most precious to Him to suffer what He did not deserve at the hands of a people who deserved every ounce of it so that we all may be given that which we do not deserve: salvation. This is the heart of the Gospel: that God, in His unfathomable kindness and mercy, moved to man and reconciled a fallen creation to Himself. The depth of this is that, as tiny and insignificant as we most certainly are, God has such a deep and profound love for each of us and while the stars are still shining, black holes sucking, and while the Earth keeps turnin’, He knows the number of the hairs on each of our heads. O! How deep indeed is the knowledge and wisdom and kindness and mercy of our God.
All praise to our Lord Jesus to the glory of the Father, forever and ever. Amen.