Healing Hearts and Naming Stars
I love being outside in nature. I'm not an environmentalist by any stretch of the imagination, but there is just something about seeing this natural world in all its fullness. I think of the whale-watching trip I went on in off the coast of San Diego, as huge grey whales surfaced and shot blowholes of water dozens of feet in the air. I think of the trips to northern Michigan with my family as a kid, camping out in the wooded campgrounds and state parks. The beauty of nature, the trees, the sand dunes, the wild animals, it all gets me. Even today, I love making beach trips in my current state of Florida. I enjoy wading out into the Gulf of Mexico, standing still and letting the force of the surf hit me. Or simply standing still in the water and watching the schools of tiny fish encompass me thrills me. I love what the natural world has to offer.
But when I see this beautiful world, it isn't simply an end in itself to enjoy its splendor. No, I take it one step further. When I see the beauty of this world, I think of the God who made it. The perfect order, the complexity point to one thing: nothing like this could simply come out to be on its own. Obviously, a brilliant Mind was behind it. That Mind belongs to the Lord God Almighty. So all the majesty of the mountains, the power of the sea, etc., are evidences of the work of God.
Think of the stars for a moment. All the stars in the universe are literally beyond our ability to count. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year. Since the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second, that means that light travels nearly 6 trillion miles a year. If that isn't encroaching on mind-warping for you, then get this: the Milky Way Galaxy's diameter is 100,000 light-years! And that's just our galaxy! It's only one of the billions in our universe that we can observe! Is your mind burning out yet? Mine is!
That, my friends, all falls under the category of creation. God made it. That means that God is separate and distinct from His creation. He is all-powerful, far above this universe that to us is unfathomable! There is a fancy theological term for this. It's called the transcendence of God. God is not only separate from creation, but far greater than it. The Bible states this fact unequivocally and unapologetically when it says it simply, "In the beginning God made…"
The Bible, in Psalm 147:4, makes the statement that God determines the number of the stars, and (get ready) He names each one! (See the 4th verse). I get my kids names mixed up all the time, and there's only 4 of them! That speaks to God's transcendence. But the verse prior to it says something equally profound. Its says that God binds up the brokenhearted, and heals all their wounds. (See the 3rd verse) There's also a fancy theology word for this one, too. It's called the immanence of God. That speaks of God's involvement in His creation, in our lives. Let me tie this all together now. We all have heard how God cares for us. We know He understands our hurts, our pains. We are familiar with the 3rd verse, some of us rather intimately. But I want to challenge you to look at verse 3 in the light of verse 4-that is, God not only cares about you and your problems, He has the means to do something about it! Don't think God is too busy with other issues, like keeping the stars in their proper places. He holds the stars, but friends, He holds you too! God is not an unconcerned landlord over this universe, and that includes you.
Friend, I believe the ultimate expression of this All-powerful God's immanence is found in Calvary, as God in the flesh (see John 1) hung on that cross in the person of Jesus Christ. God got intimately involved with His people that He made, making a way for us to be free from sin. He died on that cross for our sin, and His blood that He shed washes away the sin and the guilt that comes with it. He loved us enough to intervene and save us!