Have you ever had a time when you were in a place where it was completely dark, and you could see ZILLIONS of STARS?? I’ve wanted to post something about this on the Blog for “many moons,” but it has taken a long time just to try to “organize” it.
My best friend from childhood and I used to sleep out a lot, lying in our sleeping bags and looking up at all the stars (we lived in a small community without a ton of street lights, so we could see LOTS of stars). We’d find one which we were sure no one else could see or had noticed, and that would be “our very own special star.” We loved looking at the Milky Way, the Big and Little Dippers, and other things we’d been shown. We loved the light that was reflected in and from these wonderful creations of God.
I started counting stars when I was about 7 (I was interested in counting “everything”) . . . I never finished, and eventually I quit trying. Now I realize that my effort was futile anyway. I want to share a few things about the UNIVERSE. Buckle up!
The universe – which is EXPANDING – is believed to be at least 93 BILLION LIGHT YEARS in diameter (Factoid: A light year is almost 6 TRILLION MILES)…. and contains a VAST NUMBER of galaxies. A galaxy is a huge system of stars, gas, dust, and stuff. One typical galaxy is estimated to be 56,000 light years in diameter (I can’t even begin to imagine that!!) and approximately 60 million light years away from us…. (You might get a brain cramp just trying to comprehend such numbers, such distances!). Most galaxies are separated from one another by distances measured in MILLIONS of light years! And some are considered to be around 14 billion years old!!! It is estimated that some galaxies contain ONE HUNDRED TRILLION STARS!! In October of 2013, a galaxy was discovered which is approximately 13.1 BILLION LIGHT YEARS from earth. It produces stars at a phenomenal rate of about 300 suns per year . . . . And it is also estimated that there may be more than 170 BILLION GALAXIES in the observable universe!!! That’s an incredibly large number of galaxies! And this has probably increased just while I’ve been working on this blog!. Things REALLY get complex when we try to think about the Universe beyond that which is observable. The “whole” Universe, as it were. Some estimate that the WHOLE Universe is at least 250 TIMES AS LARGE as the OBSERVABLE UNIVERSE and could actually be INFINTE! . . . . (Do you have a headache yet??) HELP!!!!! This is all so “MIND BOGGLING!” Or, to put it another way, it “BLOWS MY MIND!!”
But I have to keep remembering that just because we can’t understand all of this doesn’t mean it’s not TRUE! Listen again to what the Creator of all of these galaxies and stars (Who is THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD) said to Moses: (Moses 1:37-39) 37- … The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they ARE numbered unto me, for they are mine. [HE KNOWS EACH STAR!!] 38- And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words. 39- For behold, this is my work and my glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
OK… to get to the point I’m trying to make, I have to leave the universe and galaxies and stars for just a few moments and focus on this tiny little planet called earth. We live here with just a few of Heavenly Father’s children (7 billion plus). We speak over 6,000 languages. We share the planet with over 10,000 species of BIRDS (and likely over 400 BILLION birds!), over 12,000 species of ants (over 100 TRILLION individual ants!), over 30,000 species of fish, 400,000 kinds of flowers, 100,000 kinds of trees, and 950,000 species of insects….
And even with all these birds, fish, flowers and insects, and even with 170 BILLION galaxies and TRILLIONS of STARS, and even with BILLIONS of CHILDREN . . . [Imagine these words are 50 feet high] YOU ARE KNOWN AND LOVED AND CHERISHED INDIVIDUALLY BY THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE!!! He knows how many hairs are on your head! Not even a single sparrow dies without Him knowing. (And yes… there are still a few who say there is no God….) HE IS YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER!!! HE KNOWS YOUR NAME!!! YOU ARE UNIQUE!!! YOU’RE A MIRACLE! THERE IS NO ONE EXACTLY LIKE YOU IN ALL THE VAST UNIVERSE….
If you have interest and time: