How significant you are!

Today's thought:

Psalm 8:3-4, "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?"

I was backpacking in the back woods of Colorado. It was late but I still had some miles to go. The trail was clear and I had my new headlamp to try out. It was mostly pitch black in the dense woods. At one point the trail ran up a ridge and then out of the tree line. Coming out of the trees onto that high spur of the mountain I suddenly froze. Above me was a picture of the universe that I had seen in books and on a screen but never knew existed in reality. A billion points of light, milky galaxies and shooting stars streaking by, glowing and radiating in a sea of inky night. Alone on the ridge of that mountain I felt smaller than ever before. In that vast space this earth is just a speck of dust, and me, a particle on that spec.

My first response was the only reasonable one, that of insignificance. Nothing makes a human realize his or her insignificance than the cosmos. Ancient man, without as much light pollution, probably felt insignificant on a regular basis. It is the fog of our polluted lives that makes us think of it not as often. I laid on a boulder and gazed up for a long moment. 'What are the odds,' I thought, 'in all this vastness that my one solitary life has just come about?'

In fact probability mathematicians have answered that. The chance that the simplest life form could have come about from chance processes is greater than 1 in 10 to the 40,000th power (10 to the 40,000th is a 10 with 40,000 zeros after it!). If the earth is 30 billion years old, which most evolutionists hold to, in that 30 billion years there are 10 to the 18th power of seconds. So, even if nature could somehow have produced trillions of genetic code combinations every second for 30 billion years, the probabilities against producing the simplest one-celled animal by trial and error would still be inconceivably small.

No, the universe tells of the wonders of God, shows His fingerprints, not that of chance. Beyond the impossible probability of existence there lies the fact of life in the middle of a universe of cold harsh realities that are in every possible way opposed to that life. The forces and laws that must be in place to allow life, perhaps 20 to 50 of them, including things like gravity and the speed of light, have only a fractionally small margin that will allow life as we know it. Every single one of them is fine tuned to the infinitesimally small decimal that would allow life. This fine tuned existence of ours baffles the mind and points to an intelligence beyond the cosmos who dialed each level to its very fine parameters.

I lay there on the boulder with the universe unfurled before me like the flag of God and my conclusions took me from insignificance to a realization of uniqueness, and then to the ultimate conclusion of my God given significance. This is where the Psalmist leads us. One, the vastness of the universe shows our insignificance. Two, the improbability of any life in that universe points to a Creator. Three, we then recieve significance, not because we have it of ourselves, but because God gives it to us through the vastness and complexity of a universe that exists just so we may exist.

As I lay watching the heavens I was enveloped by the incredible implications of these facts. The obvious conclusion, that all this exists, this impossibly vast cosmos, just so we may exist leaves us with this realization: we are incalculably significant. How incredibly important you must be to God! All this just so you could live. Perhaps your life is not as mundane as you once thought.

The conclusion of what the Psalmist writes I see as this: God must love us more than we can fathom, or imagine—a logic defying love—to have put all this effort, creativity, power and intelligence in creating this existence just so you and I could live in it. God must really be fond of us.

Several years ago, Edward Farrell of Detroit took his two-week vacation to Ireland to celebrate his favorite uncle's 80th birthday. On the morning of the great day, Ed and his uncle got up before dawn, dressed in silence, and went for a walk along the shores of Lake Killarney. Just as the sun rose, his uncle turned and stared straight at the rising orb. Ed stood beside him for 20 minutes with not a single word exchanged. Then the elderly uncle began to skip along the shoreline, a radiant smile on his face.

After catching up with him, Ed commented, "Uncle Seamus, you look very happy. Do you want to tell my why?"

"Yes, lad," the old man said, tears washing down his face. "You see, the Father is fond of me. Ah, me Father is so very fond of me." [Brennan Manning, The Wisdom of Tenderness (Harper San Francisco, 2002), pp. 25-26]

God is fond of you. He loves you more than you could comprehend. If you ever doubt that look to the heavens. All that exists so you could exist. See it and know that the One who made it must love you far beyond the very stars. How extravagant is the love of God for you!

Prayer: Creator of the universe, we stand in awe of the implications that we exist and the extravagance You lavished upon us by making it all so we could exist. We hand You our insignificant lives and You hand us back meaning, purpose, significance and destiny. We do not ignore the fact that since You made it all, You own it all, and that includes us. May we give You the honor You deserve since You have crowned us with honor we did not deserve. In Jesus name, amen.