The story is told that Teddy Roosevelt would go outside, stand on his balcony, and look up at the sky on most nights. He would see the moon, the stars, the constellations and remind himself how immense the universe truly is. He would then reflect on God’s power, majesty, and wonder, then turn to his wife and quietly say, “ Now I think we are small enough. Let’s go to bed.”
The truth is Mr. Roosevelt didn’t know just how immense our universe is; science had not yet discovered the far reaches of it. He didn’t know that scientists have estimated that there are more than 250,000,000 times 250,000,000 stars in this vast universe. He didn’t know that not too long ago, scientists discovered one star, Betelgeuse, that is some 527 light-years away from us. Have you ever tried to figure out just how far 527 light-years are?
Well, a light-year is the distance light will travel in 1 year. Light travels 186,000 miles per second so in 1 year, light travels over 6,000,000,000,000 (6 trillion) miles. So how far is the farthest star (that we know of) 527 times 6,000,000,000,000…let’s just say it is pretty far.
Mr. Roosevelt didn’t know that the Milky Way is about 120,000 light-years from one end to the other. And he had no way of knowing that our tiny solo system is 25,000 light-years from the center of the Milky Way. Nor did he know that it takes our sun 250,000,000 years to orbit around the center of the Milky Way. All of this amazes me and actually hurts my brain…
But what amazes me more than anything is that the God who created all of this, the God who placed every one of those 250 million times 250 million stars in their place, knows when I stand up and when I sit down. The same God knows every thought I am thinking and every word I am about to speak. And that same God believes that I am wonderfully and fearfully made. That same God truly does see me as the best of the best of the best. WOW!
I stood on my balcony this evening and saw the incredible moon and thought of Mr. Roosevelt and all that he never knew. I then smiled and whispered to myself, ” I think I am small enough. I am going to bed.” But then I had more thought before turning the light out, I might be small enough, but my God, the God who created it all, loves me. Not a bad thing to think about as I drifted off to sleep…