Last night my family and I went out and saw the International Space Station whiz past overhead at 4.76 miles per second. To think that human beings put that little bubble of metal up there and that there were actually people on it was quite something.
Sometimes when I get down about the circumstances of the world, and let’s face it there is plenty to be down about, I try to remind myself that the world is far bigger than my little corner of space and time.
While this is not really the point of Colossians 3:2 , setting my mind on things above suggests to me trying to see the big picture.
God is so much bigger than our concerns, and so much bigger than the boxes we put him in.
The planet we live on is 4.5 billion years old. Animals as we understand them have been around for 609 million years, about 13% of the time.
According to some scientists, homo sapiens (us) have been around 300,000 years, about .0001% of the life of the planet. Although humanoids (close relations that are not quite us) that could use fire might have been around as long as 1.8 million years. There have been nine such species of which we are aware, the last of which disappears about 10, 000 years ago.
Human civilization, as in a settled people who farm and domesticate animals, has been around for at least 12,000 years, about .000003% of the history of the planet, which is only .04% of human existence.
The Silurian Hypothesis suggests that given the timescales involved there could have been advanced non-human or human civilizations rise up and die out on this planet several times and we would have no evidence of it due to geological factors and weathering.
All of which suggests that the 48 years I have been alive, or even the 244 years the United States has been around is not much.
That is a matter of time, now let us consider space. I think one image will suffice.
Those swirls and blobs? Not planets, not stars, but Galaxies. That image from Hubble is 25% of an image that covers only 1/30th of the sky. There are 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe. There are between 100 and 400 million stars in our galaxy alone. Our closest neighbor is Proxima Centauri, which is 4.24 light years away, or about 25 Trillion miles.
Currently there are about 7.6 Billion human beings on Earth. Although difficult to calculate some estimates say there have been 100 billion humans on Earth over the course of time.
Matthew 10:29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care”
So, am I trying to say that we shouldn’t be worried about plagues/pandemics, politics, poverty, and the passing of cultural institutions? Not at all. Nor am I saying that your problems are meaningless. God cares about each sparrow, he cares about you. Not objectively, in the sense that he knows about it and acknowledges it but doesn’t think it matters, but subjectively, in the sense that he cares about you as much as the person who loves you most does.
I am simply asking you to take a breath. To look up beyond your normal horizons and see the vast expanse of space and time.
Remember that there is so much more than the concerns of everyday life. There is a vast universe, and possibly more, and myriad peoples.
And yet, and yet…
God loves You.