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Finding Faith: God knows the galaxies, and us

"Looking up into the starry sky, I pondered, 'God had time to create not only our Milky Galaxy, but The Phantom Galaxy 32 million light years away, and an untold number of more galaxies in between … and yet our Creator is personally aware of me! How can that be?'”

View of M74, otherwise known as the Phantom Galaxy
View of M74, otherwise known as the Phantom Galaxy, taken by the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope, in this handout image released Aug. 29, 2022. Webb’s sharp vision reveals delicate filaments of gas and dust in the spiral arms which wind outwards from the center of this image.
NASA / ESA / CSA James Webb Space Telescope / via REUTERS
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Earlier this week, the European Space Agency and NASA, which collaborate together on work involving the Hubble and James Webb telescopes, released an image of “The Phantom Galaxy,” a spiral of solar systems found 32 million light-years away from earth.

The stunning photo of the galaxy — nicknamed “M74” — looks like an image of outer space taken straight out of an old Buck Rogers episode from my youth! Just breathtaking stuff!

And, for me, it’s convincing evidence of a grander design to the cosmos.

Looking up into the starry sky while out walking my dogs the night I read about the photo, I pondered, “God had time to create not only our Milky Galaxy, but The Phantom Galaxy 32 million light years away, and an untold number of more galaxies in between … and yet our Creator is personally aware of me! How can that be?”

Jesus reminds us of this very intimate relationship with God in Luke 12:6-7: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

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"After a couple of years of celebrating apart because of the pandemic, and also for having just lived through another rancorous national election, we all could use the joy and hope and anticipation that is promised us in Christmas, in the birth of a mighty little king born in a manger."

This world can at times seem big and cold and uncaring. The forces of injustice and greed and intolerance can leave even the most faithful people with a sense of abandonment and a loss of hope. It’s understandable how overwhelming even daily life can seem.

But in my own moments of despair, it’s discoveries of supernatural things, such as galaxies 32 million light years away, that remind me of a greater order of things.

If our Creator is responsible for the infinite number of stars in the infinite number of galaxies stretched across the universe, and yet he still knows the number of hairs on my head, then how can I not trust that he is at work in my everyday life?

It may seem counterintuitive that I find solace in the vastness of our universe, when the forces of evil, manifested in human flaws and even nature, seem to make the world a scary place.

I can see where one’s natural inclination would be to withdraw into oneself in an attempt to limit our exposure to the world. After all, we seem so tiny and inconsequential compared to the infiniteness of all that was created around us.

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But I would encourage looking at it from another perspective: If after creating all of these various galaxies stretched across the universe, our Creator still has the time and awareness to know the number of hairs on each of our heads … well, then, each of us must truly be a very special and beloved child of God!

And that thought helps push away any of my feelings of being alone and inconsequential in this life!

Related Topics: FAITH
Opinion by Devlyn Brooks
Devlyn Brooks is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and serves Faith Lutheran Church in Wolverton, Minn. He also works for Forum Communications Co. He can be reached at devlyn.brooks@forumcomm.com for comments and story ideas.
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