I’ve started reading through the Bible again at the beginning of a new year and find myself once again in Genesis. It’s amazing that God created so vast an expanse as our universe, yet only took two chapters in His Word to describe it. I almost laughed at Genesis 1:16 which describes the creation of the sun and moon and then, almost as an afterthought: “He also made the stars.”
Have you looked up at the night sky lately? Or ever tried to count the stars that you can see? Have you studied NASA photos or shots from the Hubble telescope? I believe it’s a gross understatement to say that there are a LOT of stars out there!
And we know that He has named each and every one:
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Psalm 147:4 (NIV)
So how many stars are there, approximately?
According to an article in livescience.com, the way to figure out how many stars there are is to calculate the average number of stars in a typical galaxy and multiply that by the estimated number of galaxies in the universe. The article concludes:
Multiplying the number of galaxies — which is about 2 trillion — by the 100 million stars in the galaxy suggests there could be about 10 raised to the19th power stars in the universe.
That number is 10 with 19 zeroes following it, or 100,000,000,000,000,000,000. And each one of those is known by our Father God and has a name.
So why would we doubt that God knows and is interested in the details of our lives?
I’ve found myself wondering that lately. I had a phone call earlier this week and then an email the next day which were discouraging. A conversation with someone led my thinking down a negative path. Nothing seems to be working out as I had hoped. There are some difficult situations coming up which I’m dreading.
But the writer of Psalms tells us that even though the heavens are majestic and glorious, we have an even more exalted place in God’s mind.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.
Psalm 8:3-5 (NIV)
We must remember that we matter to Him. We must remember to trust God to direct the results of our efforts, to bring His good purposes to pass.
In Jon Bloom’s book Don’t Follow Your Heart, he dives into the story of Joseph in Genesis. He says, “We see a startling and unnerving level of God’s providential involvement in the details of Joseph’s life” (although we may find them disturbing). He lists four pages of details that occurred in Joseph’s story to bring about the eventual conclusion. Among them are:
- His brothers’ evil, murderous, greedy betrayal of him was part of God’s plan
- The existence of an evil slave trade at that time was part of God’s plan
- Joseph’s favor with Potiphar was part of God’s plan
- His unjust accusation of rape and imprisonment were part of God’s plan
- Joseph’s ability to discern the meaning of the dreams of the baker and cupbearer was part of God’s plan
- The cupbearer forgetting about Joseph for two years was part of God’s plan
And the list goes on, every detail of Joseph’s life, both good and bad, was part of God’s overarching plan for him and to save the nation of Israel. Without Joseph in power in Egypt, his family may have starved. But God is weaving his plan throughout history and in each one of our lives. We must remember to trust God.
Elsewhere in Genesis we read about Sarah’s slave girl Hagar. After being mistreated, she ran away into the desert. God spoke to her in her distress and Hagar said, “You are the God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13).
So we can be comforted by this story as well, to know that God sees every circumstance in our life. He is aware, He sees us and He is working out His good plan for us. Even though we may receive bad news or face hard things, He knows about them and will help us if we run to him and not doubt – we must trust God.
May we remember this and believe He is our good and faithful Father.