One of the most frightening times in my life happened when I was 11 years old.
A friend and I were camping out in my backyard, lying on our backs looking at the night sky filled with stars. My friend then told me what he learned that day: the universe goes on forever and ever with no end. But I was a bit skeptical. “How could something not have an end?” I asked.
Once we ended our conversation, I looked up at the stars and couldn’t begin to imagine the universe going on forever. It then occurred to me that even if the universe had an end, an edge where the universe left off, what was on the other side of that edge? At that moment a terrible fear gripped me.
The realization of an immense universe seeped deep within me and I began to sense the indescribable insignificance and brevity of my own existence. As I stared at the stars I felt as if I had been abandoned in a large, empty house suddenly seeing a tremendous shadow being cast upon the wall moving slowly toward me and I had no idea of what it was. I only knew that I was much smaller, incredibly helpless and unable to ever know what it was that could cast such an immeasurable shadow.
Today, as a Christian I know what, or rather who, was casting that shadow. It was God revealing Himself to me through the vastness of His creation. And since I was not a Christian at the time, I didn’t know that His grace and love for me is just as incomprehensibly great as His might and power; a love so great that He would gladly compress the distance that separated me from Him, sending His Son to tell me that He loves me.
As a Christian, I still look to the stars from time to time and wonder why would God do such a thing.
There’s a psalm King David wrote that asks that same question. Part of Psalm 8 reads:
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
If there is one thing that I am thankful for, it’s the fact that God, as great as He is, loves even me ...so much so that He would reach out from beyond the edge of the universe to make me His own.
It’s written in the sky.
Jeff Atherholt is 95.1 SHINE-FM's Creative Services Director, a dad of three girls, and a proud grandfather. Tip: if you're ever looking for Jeff in the SHINE-FM office, just listen for the whistling. We'd put his whistling talents up against the guy who whistled the Andy Griffith Show theme song any day!