A Picture Worth Thinking About

There are some photos out now of the kind that never ceases to fascinate me. I sometimes can’t help but stare at them in wonder and astonishment. Have you seen them?

Someone in our church recently emailed me a link to an amazing panorama of the Milky Way Galaxy, which of course is simply the view of our own galaxy from earth’s night sky. As you can see, we’re looking at the rest of our galaxy from its outside edge, like looking back at the rest of a plate from its outside lip. You can check out this link, or download a higher resolution image for yourself, here. If you visit that website, you’ll also see a recent photo of the center of our galaxy that’s pretty cool too.

What’s so mesmerizing about this is that our Sun (below) is about 300,000 times the mass of the Earth. In other words, you could fit 300,000 Earths into the Sun. Think about that!

Now think about this: the Milky Way Galaxy has an estimated 100,000,000,000 stars like our Sun in it! Just stop and try to fathom that. I don’t think I can get my mind on it, exactly.

But then there’s another recent photo (below) taken by the Hubble Telescope showing five galaxies like our own. Can you even grasp what you’re seeing? You’re looking at a photo taken from a telescope orbiting the Earth that’s pointed so far out into space that it can capture five galaxies “together” enough for us to see in one frame! Think how far away that is. If you traveled at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), it would take you about 300 million of years to get there! Here is a link to a better photo and some interesting facts about these five galaxies.

But then I look at another photo taken from the Hubble Telescope (below), now pointed billions of light years out into space. And in just one frame you can see countless numbers of more and more galaxies! These galaxies are some 13 billion (not million!) years away if you traveled 186,000 miles per second. Just try to try to try to think about that. And that’s just one little area where the telescope is pointed. Think of how many billions of galaxies there are out there. And each galaxy contains roughly 100,000,000,000 stars like our Sun!

And what’s amazing is that almost every astrophysicist today says that all of these galaxies exploded into existence in just a fraction of a fraction of a second about 13 billion years ago. That was the beginning of the universe. Few astronomers today will argue with that.

But think of the implications. What does this mean for your life? Quite a lot. Everything in fact. See, all these photos are actually pictures of something fantastically worshipful about God. They make verses like Isaiah 40:25-28 make so much more sense to me. In that passage, God asks us this…

“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Why do you say … and complain …“My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

In a way, these photos are pictures of who God is. As vast as these recent photos prove that the universe really is, God, the Creator of the universe, is equally as wise and loving and sovereign and good in his will for everything in your and my life. These photos show me the God who created me, the God I worship, and the God whose will for my life is infinitely and eternally trustworthy. OK, now why do I sin again?

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