Today: Thursday, November 21, 2019

Measuring God?    (2/3/2019 1)

There are apparently 326 million trillion gallons of water on planet earth!  I don’t know who calculated that or how they did it, or how accurate it is, but that enormous number is 326 followed by 18 zeros.  And the number is even bigger when measured in litres!

So when Isaiah, more than two and a half thousand years ago, asked the question - “Can anyone measure the oceans by handfuls?” (Isaiah 40, verse 12) - he was right to hint that it was impossible!  Though we can do some rough calculations today, measuring by handfuls or cupfuls is as impossible now as it was then.

It is very easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of things around us - the depth of the oceans, the power of an earthquake, the distance to the stars.  Cosmologists talk about galaxies that are billions of light years away from us.  The English phrase that fits best here is “it’s mind boggling” - our minds simply can’t take it in.

We have a similar problem when we look into the world of the miniature, the microcosm.  Sub-atomic particles are too small for us to visualise, and the idea that the chair I am sitting on is made up of more ‘spaces’ than solids - and who knows what ‘solid’ means anyway - is also mind-boggling.

However, Isaiah’s ancient point, which is still true, is that you cannot measure God with a tape-measure.  Not just because no tape measure could ever be long enough, but because God is beyond measuring.  So if the scale of the universe and the world of electrons is mind boggling, God is all the more so.

‘Suspended’ as we are between the unimaginably large and the incomprehensibly small, we could feel overwhelmed by both.  Yet Jesus gave us the equally astonishing assurance that “Even the hairs of your head have been counted!” (Matthew 10, verse 30).  “But don’t worry,” he went on, “you are worth much more than lots of sparrows!” (Matthew 10, 31).

That is extraordinary, because it suggests that the God who made the vastness of space knows every detail of your body, right down the smallest of its particles.

Even more extraordinary is the implication that size does not matter with God, what matters is people.  Jesus is telling us that we are more precious than the smallest of creatures or the smallest things in creation.  God cares for each of us and about us.  And that shows up most of all at the cross when God showed such love for the world, that he gave his only Son to die for us.

And that love, and our place in it as we receive it, cannot be measured or weighed or compared, it’s just too big and too different for that.  Know then that you are known and loved by God and rejoice in the wonder of that gift.


Lord, you know me and about me more than I know myself, yet despite all that, your love is greater still.  Help me to rest in that assurance of being loved and held in your everlasting arms.

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