And the Stars

In 1609, Galileo Galilei having heard of a new invention called the “Danish perspective glass” fashioned his version of what we call the telescope and began studying objects in the universe previously undetectable by the human eye. He recorded and published his findings, stirring the scientific and religious communities into a frenzy.
For thousands of years, humans had gazed into night skies in ignorance and awe. We witnessed the man in the moon without knowing the streaks and spots of his face are deep craters and soaring mountains. We didn’t know Jupiter had moons or that there were a total of eight planets (sorry Pluto) in the solar system that revolved around the sun and not the earth.
Since Galileo and other early astronomers, scientists have made great strides in discovering things in the "known" universe—things that have existed since God spoke them into being at the beginning of time. We marvel at black holes and glittering galaxies and wonder what else may lie beyond what our technology allows us to see.

Why all this splendor? Why did God create intricate solar systems only He can see? Psalm 19:1 ESV records the answer: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” The universe exists to bring glory to God and to remind us of His power and creativity. In a word, it makes Him happy.

Genesis 1:16 ESV records the creation of the stars almost as an afterthought. “And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars.” Those ferocious balls of fire and gas, like our own sun that burns at 27 million degrees Fahrenheit, are just one invention in a list of mysteries God has made. Scientists strive daily to learn more of the complexities of the universe, the planet, and even the human body—yet God is intimately familiar with it all.

Close on the heels of “why the universe” comes the question “why me?” King David asked it this way, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon, and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4 ESV) We, like pulsing quasars and speeding comets, exist not for the applause of men, but the pleasure of God.

It’s easy to forget this truth. When life on this fallen planet grieves us, we cry out to God, “Why me?” Even Job, one of the godliest men written about in Scripture, questioned why God didn’t let him die at birth. The loss of his family, his fortune, his friends, his health, and his reputation was too much for him. He couldn’t understand God’s plan in his pain. God’s response was to lift Job’s eyes to the heavens.

“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth (likely constellations) in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth?”

For four chapters, God questions Job, reminding him of the vastness of creation and the mysteries of the universe far beyond Job’s ability to understand. The point was not to ridicule Job but to help him put God back at the center of his universe.

Job’s hardship had turned his focus inward. God reminded him that He is in control of the inner workings of creation and yet still has time to speak with us, to sit with us in our grieving, and to listen to our prayers. He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4). Like the Spirit who hovered over the face of the waters, vibrating with joy for all He was about to create out of the darkness, God is with us (Genesis 1:2). He is mighty to save us, rejoicing over us with gladness, quieting us with his love, and exulting over us with singing just as a mother does with her child in the long hours of the night (Zephaniah 3:17).

You will never fully understand the majesty of God, the vastness of His creation, or the hidden things He is planning for your life. But when the dark times come, look to the stars. Let their majesty fill you with wonder at the glory of God. Praise Him and pour out your heart to Him. He created you. He knows you better than you know yourself. He loves you. And He is always with you.

 -Written by Donya Dunlap