“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
One summer night, sometime during the 1960s, my cousins and I lay stargazing on the front lawn of their suburban home. In those days we could see a lot of stars, even in the suburbs. Sometimes we even saw the flicker of an orbiting satellite as it traversed our sky. On this particular night my cousin Calvin told me about Halley’s Comet, that it passed close enough to earth to see every 75 years, and the next time it came we could see it. We computed how old we’d be then, which I’m sure led the conversation in a different direction altogether.
Despite my anticipation, I missed Comet Halley’s appearance in February 1986. Now the comet is on its way back toward Pluto, which we used to think orbited at the outer limits of our solar system. As far away as Pluto is, astronomers now believe the edge of the solar system is thousands of times farther, where the sun’s gravity barely holds a lazily circling belt of debris too dim to see and too far away for any human to ever visit.
This vastness is mind-numbing, yet these relatively small measurements hardly bear mentioning compared to the span of our galaxy or the distance to the next galaxy or the ones beyond that. Toward the universe’s center, wherever that is, and in every direction to its edges exist light-years of empty space and billions of stars in various stages of life and death. None of this needs any proving. It’s known and visible, indisputable fact. Inconceivable as it is.
Speaking for myself, it’s pretty hard to accept that a Being Who can reach across such an impossible span with His arms, not to mention fling it out there in the first place, wants to live in any human heart, much less mine. But what if all this majesty was indeed spoken into existence by a God who is also personally invested in you and in me? And what if, just for the sake of argument, He made it so lavishly big to make a point about His capacity for love and His generosity toward us? I know, ridiculous, right?
But it really would be something, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it take your breath away if the true Center of this massive universe we can’t comprehend, its Creator, is not only colossal but intimate? What if He made space so big to help us comprehend the width and length and depth and height of His love for us? (Ephesians 3:17-19) Believing that, really letting it sink in, would change your whole outlook.
Folks will get their next peek at Comet Halley as it speeds toward Mercury in the summer of 2061. By then, my aging body will be planted in the ground somewhere or reduced to ash and scattered to the wind. By then, I’ll be at the Center of the Universe with the Ancient of Days, Who came to fetch me from so far away. I’ll see Him as He is, blindingly brilliant and beautiful (1 John 3:2). The vast and glorious, unassailable expanse I now see when I look upward into the night sky will seem small by comparison.
You know what else? I doubt missing that comet again will even cross my mind.
For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Life for eternity, world without end. Amen.
© Melissa Kay Simonds