Monday, June 13, 2011

Glimpse of God

Sometimes, without realizing it, we are given a glimpse of God. It may be a blade of grass, a new born baby, the look in your son’s or daughter’s eyes when they understand something for the first time, a baby who looks at you with total trust and love and then smiles, the soft touch of your wife’s hand when you need it most.

It can be anyone of those things or something entirely different. The problem arises when we see something so often we become calloused, used to it, and no longer see God in the blade of grass or the look and smile from a baby or the touch from a loved one.

Then God sometimes steps in to remind us of his presence everywhere. The Old Testament tells us God “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) and “then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth’; and it was so” (Genesis 1:14-15). I believe that, every word of it. No doubt at all, but I kind of take it for granted as well. It was a truth I was used to and had become somewhat calloused about.

No more, for recently I got to see the evidence the ancients, those of the Old Testament, the ancient saw everywhere, but especially in the sky. I think it must have been the same for the plains Indians of North America.

Randy Halverson put together a time lapse video of the Plains Milky Way in the plains of South Dakota and for the first time I saw the Milky Way and had a sense, a real sense of the incredible immensity of God and His creation. In a video of 3 minutes and 17 seconds I got to see the Milky Way sweep across the sky a number of times in the South Dakota night sky.

After watching the video a number of times, I went back to Genesis and reread the verses above and understood in the Milky Way I was only seeing a glimpse of God, just as if I were looking at a blade of grass. You see the estimate for the number of stars in the Milky Way is somewhere between 200 and 400 billion stars. Let’s ‘spell’ that out, between 200,000,000,000 and 400,000,000,000 stars in the Milky Way. We are on the outside edge of the Milky Way galaxy with our sun. And the Milky Way Galaxy is only one of the estimated hundreds of billions of galaxies.

The numbers overwhelm me. It’s like when I read (#20) According to the America's Foundation for Chess, there are 169,518,829,100,544,000,000,000,000,000 ways to play the first 10 moves of a game of Chess I get overwhelmed too, after all that’s more than one times ten to the 30th power. That is likely one of the reasons I love the game of chess, but it is after all just a game.

The stars are not a game, they are clearly a creation of and by God. And if sometime, we ever get far enough out of the city to see them, we will clearly get a glimpse of God as we watch the Milky Way Galaxy sweep across the plains of South Dakota. Then we can be reminded (I can be reminded) we (I) serve “a great and awesome God” (Nehemiah 1:5), a God of great and “awesome majesty” (Job 37:22).

I think I will check out a blade of grass again as well.

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