Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Only Nine Quadrillion

Watch politicians very long and you'll see some strutting. (This is particularly true in the camp that, while claiming to be about the little guy, is amok with self-aggrandizement. There is, on the other hand, that kind of person who doesn't consider himself the center of the universe: he is called a conservative.)

But I digress. I was thinking about the big-man syndrome so much a part of American politics. How great we make ourselves out to be.

But, of course, we're not very great. We're not even a little bit great. The most exalted ruler of the most powerful nation at the most momentous time of history has not the slightest claim on importance, notability, or weight. Not in the eyes of his Maker.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers ... He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, but He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the storm carries them away like stubble.

Man isn't big. Big is what God is.

God's job is to be big; man's job is to relish how big God is, to delight and wonder at the excellencies of His greatness, His worth and value.

Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust. ... All the nations are as nothing before Him. They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.

The picture is a view of the Orion Nebula from the Hubble telescope. According to NASA, "the nebula's glowing gas surrounds hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud only 1,500 light-years away."

I love that "only 1,500 light-years away." Of course, 1,500 light years is 9 quadrillion miles, no puny hike, but on a cosmic scale, right next door. (Here's a fun and educational little video on the subject of light years.)

Or, to put it another way, 1,500 light years is an utterly impossible distance for man, while to God, who holds the universe in the palm of His hand, it is nothing. Nothing at all.

Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number. He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing.