Milky Way doc

Here’s a beautiful documentary from National Geographic about the Milky Way Galaxy. Well worth the time.

By the way, I hope you got the chance to see that blood moon last night. It was very cool and okay, a little bit freaky too. If you didn’t, don’t worry — there are still two more lunar eclipses on their way in 2015, coming soon to a sky near you.

Sky full of stars

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” Psalm 8:3-4

This verse came to me recently while I was sitting by a campfire at Cachuma Lake, on my way up the coast on a solitary camping trip, looking up at the sky. I’ve been a city dweller all my life; I hardly ever even see the Milky Way. So it was a shock to not only see the galaxy, but see it so clearly, stretching across the sky like a single silver brushstroke.

It was around 11 PM and the campsite was dark; most of the lanterns and radios were off. I only had the fire. But if you get just outside the periphery of a campfire, the sky opens up like crazy. I could see not hundreds, but thousands of stars. The moon was still four hours under the horizon. It was the perfect moment to pull out Google Sky Map and study.

Despite the wonky gyroscope controls on my phone (why won’t the stupid thing ever point at the thing I’m actually pointing at), I managed to learn a few new stars and constellations — and that was awesome. I’d known about Orion already. I knew the names of the six major stars surrounding Orion: Sirius, Procyon, Castor, Pollux, Capella, and Aldebaran. I knew a little bit about Cassiopeia, but that one is harder to find in city conditions.

That night I noticed a new asterism: the Summer Triangle. It’s not technically a constellation, but it is marked by three very bright stars in a tilted right triangle: Vega, Altair, and Deneb. The Milky Way passes right between Vega (the brightest) and Altair, and Deneb floats in its path. The long V-angle centered on Deneb also points the way to Cassiopeia. Those two factors make the Summer Triangle a nice way to locate yourself, if you ever get lost in the city sky — much like Orion is a good centerpiece for the six stars surrounding it.

I also saw the Pleiades clearly for the first time, and that was pretty amazing. I had never known where it was, but it’s actually in a very clear place — follow the line of Orion’s belt and you’ll see what looks like a fuzzy spot, with no discernible stars. But through a telescope you’ll see a cluster of tightly-packed stars, headlined by the “seven sisters”, the major seven stars whose proximity to one another creates that blurry effect. I’d heard about the Pleiades for a long time… but that night I found it, and now I know exactly where to look to find it again.

Usually, when I look at the night sky in the city, I’m struck by how vast and empty it looks. The black voids between stars, the number of light-years in between them and us, makes me think of how gigantic space is. The city night sky makes God seem incredibly huge to me, but also somehow absent. As if the universe is basically just a huge void, with a few stars scattered here and there. It’s like the edge of a map in a video game. If you somehow fall or glitch through the wall, you end up in this blank, endless limbo that for some reason, is kind of unsettling.

But on that camping trip, the sky looked wildly different. It wasn’t empty and dark; it was a sky full of stars, if you will. The universe was bright and teeming with endless possibilities. It was filled with the creative energy of God. Sure, the great distances between stars and galaxies from a human perspective is overwhelming. But that night, it was the sheer number of stars and galaxies that blew me away. The universe was not an endless limbo; it was a place full of new things, full of content, wherever I looked.

It was in that moment of clarity that brought that verse from Psalms into my mind. If God can create so much material on such a huge scale, what could we possibly mean to him? We’re just these weird little creatures, living on a planet that’s actually a pretty nice place, to be fair. But what would motivate a God who calls the stars by name, and bring them forth one by one, to care so much about us? Why would he even remember us — let alone listen to every prayer, take care of us, sacrifice yourself for us, and then remain forever with us? Aren’t we just a pale blue dot in the middle of nowhere?

But the presence of so many stars in the sky reminded me of another thing. God may be vast, and great, and distant; but he is also present with us, as a source of life and hope in darkness. He is a God far off, but he is also close at hand. He fills the void in our hearts with a great host of lights, signifying his presence with us even in our hardest moments, and generously equipping us with all we need. The problem is, we can’t always see the stars. Sometimes the sky looks pitch black. Sometimes it’s hard to see the hope we have in God; sometimes it’s hard to see God at all.

But even when the city lights erase the universe above our heads, the sky is still full of stars.

Plants

One of the amazing aspects of life on planet Earth for me, one among ten billion, is the variety of lifespans between different types of creatures. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the kingdom of Plantae.

When I look at a plant, I see life happening in slow motion. As humans we’re constantly running around, frantically doing things, thinking a mile a minute. But plants are so radically different. They grow gradually, over months and years of drinking in water, soil and sunlight, adding one layer of cells upon the next, until flowers bloom in vibrant color and concentrically ringed tree trunks stretch into the sky.

Plants may seem like the simplest forms of life, but their inner workings are very complicated. Their skins are made of vast multicellular networks, performing complex chemical reactions constantly throughout the day. The main way God gives energy to plants is through sunlight; the warm light of day is filtered into the plant and transformed by photosynthesis into sugars which enrich the plant and cause it to grow. The sun’s rays are absorbed using chlorophyll — a chemical that gives plants their characteristic green pigment. Plants also take in water from beneath the soil by growing root systems, using a form of suction to pull the water up into the higher levels of the plant (much like sipping through a straw.)

These are the basic mechanics that define plants. But there is so much variety even within the Plantae kingdom. If we hadn’t been born on Earth, we would probably think that grass looks incredibly weird: these little green spiky things that grow everywhere, that cover every hilltop and even have the power to push upward through concrete.

Then you have the other end of the spectrum: trees. These great hulking beasts, full of branches and boughs, made from a skin called wood that we can harvest for basically every purpose known to man.

And I won’t forget flowers. Flowers are pretty. One of Jesus’s most memorable parables is the one in which he commands us not to worry, that God will provide for us. If he clothes flowers so well, and most flowers don’t even last throughout a year, how much more will he take care of us?

So I’ll share some of the ways that plants bring me closer to God. One of them is the first idea I mentioned — the idea of slow growth and patience. God is not bound by human timescales. He formed this planet over the course of 4.5 billion years, and he was in no way rushed, or made impatient by waiting. Time is a fluid reality for God, whereas for you and me, time is fixed at a steady marching pace, an unchangeable tempo, to the beat of some great invisible drum in the center of the universe. When I study a plant, I am reminded that God is not hurried. He times things exactly as he chooses to.

Growth happens slowly — not just in plants, but in humans too. When we talk about the new creation that is our heart after believing in Jesus, we have to understand that this new creation is not immediate. We grow like a tree out of a seed, branching out, producing leaves and fruit, forever climbing upward toward the heavens.

Think of the crop cycle. The seasonal rhythm of harvesting crops is a reality that human life has depended on since prehistory. It’s just the way of nature. Plant in the autumn, harvest in the summer. Crops need time to fully mature before they are harvested; therefore our species is forced by God to wait out the nine or ten months, as the seasons change, before reaping our due reward. Have patience. The seeds that you are planting may not have even broken through the earth yet, but remember the words of Jesus:

“And he said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.’” (Mark 4:26-29)

In fact, I’ll just link you to Mark chapter 4, because it is full of spiritual lessons about plant life, and it’s better to let the Master speak instead of me.

Invisible God

A brief followup to a previous entry on the invisibility of spiritual things.

Q. Why is God invisible? Wouldn’t it be way easier to believe in him if we could see him?

A. Let me frame my answer to this question with a disclaimer: I honestly have no idea. God’s ways are so far above my own, and his knowledge so much greater than mine, that any reasons I might give are sure to be incomplete, flat-out wrong, or only shadowy imitations of the real truth. That being said, I think the best way to answer is to look at Scripture, and then consider what God’s invisibility communicates to us as believers in him.

The first, most obvious answer I can think of is that God is spirit. (John 4) That is his essential nature, just like being human is our essential nature. We can only use our five senses to interact with the universe; we can’t see God’s spirit, any more than we can see our own. That’s just the way God made us. This answer is helpful in understanding in a practical sense WHY he is invisible to us, but it doesn’t explain why he CHOSE to make himself invisible.

One good reason I see in Scripture numerous times is that God is holy. We are simply not programmed to handle the sight of God. He is way too intense to be seen with our unholy human eyes. Because of our fallen nature, any close contact with Almighty God would destroy us completely. Now Moses was one of the most righteous men in history. But not even Moses was permitted to see God’s face (Exodus 33:19-23). If Moses can’t get away with it, why should you or me? We are two people that are clearly not as good as Moses. Remember the ark of the covenant? It was traveling from one city to the next, like a victory parade after the Super Bowl. One of its carriers noticed it was wobbling a little, put his hand out to hold it steady, and DIED INSTANTLY. The ark was full of the Presence of the Lord, and the Israelites were commanded not to touch the ark. This man’s very act of touching it brought his sin into close proximity with God himself, whose holiness utterly obliterated the sin on contact. So if sinners are not able to see God, or come into contact with God’s holiness, without that kind of thing happening — to be honest, I’m pretty glad we can’t.

Another reason God might choose to be invisible is that it helps us understand that God is separate from his creation. When we come to God, we come to him from within creation, and yet we’re speaking with a Being that is both outside and above all creation. He is distinct from the physical universe and yet fills it completely. “In him we live and move and have our being.” In Romans 1, Paul says that God’s invisible power is evident from what has been made (i.e. the creation surrounding us.) God is the one who invented quantum mechanics, icy dwarf planets, Dalmatians, orange groves, evolution, and hydrogen. He is also the one that invented the human heart and soul, with all its complexities and neuroses. He did all of this from a very high vantage point, taking care of his creation, expending insane amounts of creative energy and divine inspiration, yet in no way dependent upon it for his own existence.

Fourth, it continually reminds us that God is in charge. Since we can’t see God, we are forced to look for him. We are placed in the humbling position of needing to seek God and find him every day. We draw all of our life from God, both physically and spiritually; he is the source of all good things. But he is under no obligation to us. We are beggars, but he is abundantly rich. He can interact with us as much as he chooses, or abandon us at his own discretion. Amazingly, the blessed reality is that God loves us freely and reveals himself to us. Yet part of that revelation is the knowledge that he is in full command. We must answer to him, and he answers to no man on Earth.

So far we have seen what God’s invisibility communicates about his character. Now we turn to the effects it has on our character, starting with arguably the most important goal: developing faith in God. For reasons that I still don’t fully understand, God has determined that faith is one of the three most essential parts of our spiritual life, alongside hope and love. Our faith in God is so important to him that he made it the instrument of our salvation. Faith implies an intimate trust in the intentions of another, despite whatever evidence there might be to the contrary. It produces a humble kind of love that bears all things and believes all things in devotion to the other. Throughout Scripture (and our own lives) we see many examples of wrong relationships humans can have with God, but we also see several examples of a right relationship with him: faith. We ought to trust God, because he is so much bigger and better than us. Simple as that. Lack of faith in God is what happens when I get the equation twisted, and I set myself above God in order to judge him, doubt that he knows what he’s doing, or refuse to believe his word. A child has faith in her parents to do her good, to take care of her, to discipline her bad behavior fairly, to make the right decisions and keep her safe. This is a beautiful picture of what God wants our relationship with him to look like. Jesus said “Unless you turn and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Job said “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” The fact that we must believe in God, rather than see him, helps to produce that kind of faith in us.

The sixth reason I can give is closely related to the last: developing hope in God. This is one of the hardest commands in the Bible for me to follow, by far. In Romans 8:24-25, Paul says this: “Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” The process of building hope can be a maddening one: prayers may not be answered for months, even years, as suffering continues with little end in sight. Think of Abraham waiting twenty-five agonizing years for the birth of Isaac. Or the four hundred years of slavery Israelites endured in Egypt, followed by forty years of aimless wandering in the desert, before they crossed over into the Promised Land. Think of Hannah going faithfully to the temple each year to pray for a son, only to be answered with silence, bitter disappointment and taunts from her enemies. Think of the old woman bleeding for twelve years, going to every doctor she could afford, trying every remedy and faith-healing huckster in town, but never healed until Jesus finally came. Think of Lazarus’s family, having sent for Jesus during Lazarus’s sickness, then watching him die and burying him four days before the Messiah arrived. The Scriptures are full of instances where God made his children wait for him. Yet in hope against hope, they believed. Their character was severely tested, and they came out the other side purified and refined. But even more than that, they all got what they waited for, without exception — and it was better than they had ever hoped. Hope is the belief that God will keep his promises, even as we wait for them to be fulfilled. It is an essential component of our spiritual life with God. Without hope in him, we would be utterly lost. So God has hidden himself, not to punish us, but to give us the gift of hope.

Finally, the fact that God is now invisible to us helps build our anticipation for the day that we will finally see him. If you’ve ever gone away from home for a long period of time, you know what that word “anticipation” means. My cousin spent two years on tour with a Navy nuclear sub; he never saw his family or newlywed wife during all that time, and I know it was really tough on him. But I also know that he gets anticipation. That restless excitement that starts growing in your heart, as the final weeks of the trip tick by. It feels even more interminable than the entire length of the trip so far. Suddenly home is only days away, and you’re thinking about sleeping in your own bed, holding your wife and kids, laying out on the couch, wolfing down a big family dinner, going out to bars with old friends, spending the holidays with the ones you love. For those last few days you literally can’t think of anything else. When the day finally arrives, you walk into the airport, or you pull up to the dock, and there they are — right there in front of you, smiling, teary eyed — and you rush over to them and wrap them up in a giant hug, and within minutes you’ve picked up right where you left off, as if you were never gone at all.

Now imagine the God who carried you throughout your life, the one who created you and died for you, who listened to your every prayer and answered you and was never unfaithful, who suffered with you and gave you strength and purpose on days when you didn’t feel like you could go on, who blessed you with so much good, who healed your afflictions, freed you from bondage, erased your sin and loved you at every moment — imagine entering heaven after all is said and done, after you’ve fought the good fight and finished the race, and there he is. Right there in front of you.

I don’t know all of why God chooses to remain invisible to us now. But neither can I imagine how sweet it will be when that day finally arrives.

“Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes will see and not another.” Job 19:26

Eternity

We are creatures of time. Our lives are an unbroken chain of events, one after the next, passing by in sequential order. The world grows and moves and changes. Drop a rock, and it falls to the ground. Wind your watch, and it starts ticking off the seconds. Tides swell and shrink. The moon drifts calmly across the sky. We breathe in and out. Our hearts beat. Time is an essential part of being human.

So the concept of eternity is a brick wall we can’t climb over as human beings. We just aren’t equipped to imagine what it would be like to exist eternally, unchanging. But that’s exactly what we’ll be when the last day comes. We’ll no longer be creatures of time: we will be eternal.

In this world, we make choices every day that change who we are. We are laying the groundwork for our eternal nature with every decision, every act, every mistake, every step we take. We are building ourselves into a new creature. In eternity, the work will be complete. Whatever we become on Earth, that is what we will be forever once we leave. In this world, we get second chances. We can be forgiven for our mistakes and we can try again, and try again, and try again to do right. In eternity, there are no more chances to change. We will simply be who we are, forever and ever.

For it has been given to man to die once, and after that face judgment. Those who have done evil will go away into eternal punishment; those who have done good, to eternal life. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father, with an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. The wicked will be cast into the outer darkness; but the tree of life that grows in the city of God will give its leaves for the healing of the nations, and the kings of the earth will seek out Israel for their knowledge of the Lord.

You see, heaven and hell are not as distant from one another as you would think. There is a great gulf fixed between the two, but it is a gulf not of proximity, but difference of nature. The righteous will be glorious because that is what Jesus has made them, through His sacrifice on the cross, and through the refining fire of life on Earth. The wicked will be desolate because that is what they have made themselves.

When Jesus speaks of eternal life and eternal punishment, do not think of “eternity” as an infinite series of moments and events, like the life we have here. If you do, either heaven or hell might seem utterly interminable. No — the eternity Jesus has in mind is the eternity He knows, the eternity in which He’s existed since before the beginning of time. God’s eternity is a constant state of now. He sees all moments, from the beginning of the universe to the end, at once. That’s what we will be like. It won’t be the same as living out an endless existence in time, minute by minute, day by day. It will be a different state of being entirely.

This concept is nearly impossible to grasp unless we look at God as our reference point. In eternity, God does not change. He is the same yesterday and today and forever. We will be like that one day. He isn’t bound by time — he can move backward, forward, sideways, through and around it. He experiences every instant of our lifetime “now”. Right now, he is watching me be born and watching me die, watching every sin and every good work. We will be like that. We will exist “now” forever — that’s the kind of being we will become.

If the whole idea still doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry too much. I don’t believe we’re meant to understand it at all. What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for those who love him. What we will be has not yet been made known; but we know that when Christ appears, we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.

Ultimately, I think who we are in heaven will be like a higher expression of who we are on Earth. Paul said in 1 Corinthians that we are sown as earthly beings, and raised as heavenly beings, like seeds buried in the earth, growing into plants of all kinds. God created this good world; he knows how to make Heaven even better.

It’s a comforting thought — and a sobering one. Make sure to choose well every day you live. Take all the second chances you get. Live in hope, be strong, and don’t give up. On the last day, it will be too late to change who you are. But you’re still here, and Jesus can make you new. Trust Him with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. And He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion.

How far is the east from the west?

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12

OK, this one’s easy. What’s the distance between the east and the west? Yup, you guessed it — infinity. You can circumnavigate the entire globe without turning back, and you can do that for the rest of your life and never end up going the other way.

Say you’re Tony Stark, and you wanted to chase the rising sun. You step into your suit and blast off toward the east. If Jarvis gets you going fast enough, you can see the sun rising constantly over the curve of the Earth. You can keep it in the same position in the sky. Then you look down and all of a sudden, there’s your awesome mansion and your private landing pad. You have just circled the whole planet and came right back to where you started, without ever changing direction.

You can keep heading east as long as you want. You will never find the west.

“West” and “east” are words that describe a location on Earth as it relates to another location. But the rectangular map that the ancient psalmists spread across their lap to inspire their metaphors is gone for good. We can no longer use those terms in an absolute way. West and east extend infinitely in either direction around the globe. However, we are still humans, and we still have to know which way the beach is. So we use “west” and “east” for convenience.

In this case, just like the last, the psalmist’s analogy has been deepened profoundly by the Scientific Revolution. He could not have conceived of a spherical Earth. But in the same vein, neither could he have conceived of a better analogy to describe the absolute forgiveness that God gives to his people in Jesus Christ.

Imagine you do a terrible thing. There’s no excuse, there’s no hiding it, and there’s no way to make it right again. It follows you like a cloud whatever you do, wherever you go. Eventually, the shame is too much for you to handle. You hop into your Iron Man suit and you blast off toward the rising sun. But the cloud of your sin stays with you; you can’t outrun it.

You tell Jarvis to hit the nitro boosters. You break the speed of sound, and your sonic boom echoes down to the cities below. But the cloud of guilt and shame doesn’t go away. It’s now become a part of you. You’re getting used to breathing it in. It’s a little like methane, carbon monoxide, and a can of pain thinner with every breath. But soon even that wonderful concoction starts making you sick.

Finally you’re on the brink of death, about to suffocate. You speak to your glass faceplate– “Forgive me.”

Immediately you feel a change in the atmosphere. The cloud of your guilt is racing away in the opposite direction, toward the west. It disappears beyond the curved horizon. It never comes back up.

And just like that, your shame is gone. You will never see it again. Your guilt is pardoned. Your debt is paid and you are free.

This is the reality of God’s love in Christ Jesus. You no longer have to weigh yourself down with the shame of past mistakes. You are a new creation, living a life of complete and increasing righteousness before God, despite your frequent attempts to reverse the process. He has removed your sin beyond all spatial understanding, by the infinite distance that separates east and west. You are forgiven more completely than you can imagine.

How high are the heavens above the Earth?

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

How high are the heavens above the earth?

First, we have to nail down our definition of “the heavens”. When the author of Isaiah wrote these words, he was referring to the ancient understanding of the night sky: that it was a single, domelike ceiling above the earth, known as the firmament. This view had its roots in the Hebrew Book of Genesis, 1:6-8:

“Then God said, ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.’ Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.” (NKJV)

For the patriarchs, Moses, and King David, the firmament was literal truth. They conceived of the stars as being embedded in the darkness of space, like diamonds studding a black canvas. They saw the whole sky as a single unit. And in a very deep sense, they were right. All of creation was made from a single point. Physical objects exist in spatial relation to one another; they cannot exist except by being part of this universe. All things are bound together by the shared traits of matter, energy, and time. In fact, the psalmist’s only error was that he did not count the Earth as part of the “firmament” of physical existence.

Of course, human beings soon began to advance in knowledge. The ancient Greeks were the first to recognize the stars and planets for what they were: individual objects floating in space. They began to track the movements of the planets, and they calculated our distance to these planets with incredible accuracy. The nearest planet to Earth (when the two are aligned in their closest proximity — also called opposition) is Venus. When Venus is in opposition, it is a “mere” 38 million km away. At its furthest, it is 261 million km away, when it is perfectly centered behind the Sun from our standpoint.

For the ancient Greeks, it was the next logical step to realize that Earth itself was simply another object in space, just like stars and planets. Unfortunately, geocentricity didn’t prove to be a real popular idea. until 1500 years later. The church-states of Rome and Byzantium persecuted the view with an outrageous (and very silly) bloodlust. Yet when the geocentric model was finally accepted by the church, it gave a tremendous amount of weight to Isaiah 55, and many passages like it. By looking at the night sky as a set of distinct objects floating in space, we began to see the face of their Creator. We were confronted with distances that were absolutely impossible to comprehend. The church now encountered the sheer magnitude of God in a brand new way.

So now we’re in 2014, and inquiring minds want to know: how high ARE the heavens above the earth? Well, if you go by today’s understanding of “the heavens” — meaning the totality of the universe outside Earth — they are approximately 46 billion light years higher. In fact, the heavens are so high above the Earth that human beings cannot possibly see everything in them. Let me explain that a little more.

Light from the farthest reaches of space has only had 13.8 billion years to travel to Earth. I’ve talked about the inflationary epoch before, but what it boils down to is that there is a significant portion of the universe moving away from us faster than the speed of light — borne by an expansion of space itself that occurred within picoseconds of the Big Bang, which sent every galaxy and star and planet cartwheeling out into the void at incomprehensible speed. We know this by measuring the (redshift) of galaxies.

You may have heard of the Doppler effect, when a siren passing by seems to become lower pitched as it drives away, because the frequency of its sound waves reaching our ear decreases as it moves away. Redshift works on a similar principle. It tells us when objects in space are moving away from us, because their light waves elongate. Remarkably, when we measure the redshift of distant galaxies, we see redshift in almost every single one.

The structure of the universe has therefore been compared to the surface of an expanding balloon. As the balloon inflates, every point on its surface moves further and further apart. Try it yourself: take a balloon and a Sharpie, draw dots all over the balloon’s surface, then start blowing it up. Measure the distances between dots as the balloon gets bigger. Congratulations — you’re an inflationary cosmologist!

This is another example of amazing science that does not diminish or threaten the reality of God, but in fact magnifies it. The universe in which we live is unimaginably huge — and it is still expanding, even faster than what we can measure. With that in mind, think of the enormity of what Isaiah 55:9 is saying. How high are God’s ways above our ways? Higher than it is possible for us to grasp.

I have been going through a pretty tough time lately. It’s tempting to blame God. It’s tempting to accuse him of acting like an evil, heartless being. Tonight he appears as alien to me as the surface of the moon. I absolutely do not understand what he is doing or why. The problem for me is that my suffering is exactly what God intends for me, and he will not withhold an ounce. He will give me the full measure. Somehow, that makes it even worse. I absolutely cannot escape him even if I try.

But I read this passage tonight, and it really hit home for me. God’s ways are as high above mine as the billions of distant galaxies that we will never be able to see. His thoughts are unthinkably higher than mine. I am dealing with a great and terrible God, a God of life and death and resurrection, a God who would crucify his own son and then transform that act into the greatest blessing this world has ever known.

The personal lesson for me here is this: trust the unsearchable wisdom of God.