When I was deep in the redwoods some time ago, I lay back and looked up. I mean really up. It was one of those clear summer nights when you could see forever. So starry it was scary. The vastness of the heavens eloquently told the glory of God. No words could adequately frame the awesomeness of that moment. One of my mentors used to say, "Wonder is involuntary praise." That night, it happened to me.
What boggled my mind as I curled up in my sleeping bag that night was this: Everything I have seen belongs to this one galaxy. Perhaps there are a hundred more beyond our own. Maybe a thousand. Or a hundred thousand...each one much larger than ours. Who knows?
But let's limit our thinking just to this one solar system...a tiny fraction of the universe above us. A scientist once suggested an interesting analogy. To grasp the scene, imagine a perfectly smooth glass pavement on which the finest speck can be seen. Then shrink our sun from 865,000 miles in diameter to only two feet...and place the ball on the pavement to represent the sun.
Step off 82 paces (about two feet per pace), and to represent proportionately the first planet, Mercury, put down a tiny mustard seed. Take 60 steps more and for Venus put down an ordinary BB. Mark 78 more steps...put down a green pea representing Earth. Step off 108 paces from there, and for Mars put down a pinhead. Then take 788 steps more and place an orange on the glass for Jupiter. After 934 more steps, put down a golf ball for Saturn.
Now it gets really involved. Mark 2,086 steps more, and for Uranus...a marble. Another 2,322 steps from there you arrive at Neptune. Let a cherry represent Neptune. This will take two-and-a-half miles, and we haven't even discussed Pluto!
We have a smooth glass surface five miles in diameter, yet just a tiny fraction of the heavens. Now, guess how far we'd have to go on the same scale before we could put down another two-foot ball to represent the nearest star. We'd have to go 6,720 miles! Miles, not feet! And that's just the first star among millions. In one galaxy among hundreds, maybe thousands. And all of it in perpetual motion...perfectly synchronized...the most accurate timepiece known to man. Phenomenal isn't the word for it.
No God? All by chance? Are you kidding? Listen carefully: "Since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (Romans 1:20 NIV).
The boggled mind leads to a bended knee.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.