Counting Sand, Numbering Stars

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is sandcrpped.jpgthoughts collected along a beach

We recently spent a few days with our daughter Julie and her family at a beach on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Walking the sandy beach a couple of times each day I thought a lot about, you guessed it, sand!

What occurred to me was how much sand there is on a beach. In one of our conversations near the beach my wife Diann said she had just read that there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on all the beaches of the world. She showed me the article. Sure enough, the late Carl Sagan, astronomer and cosmologist, made the statement. According to the article, researchers at the University of Hawaii estimate that there are somewhere around seven and a half quintillion grains of sand on the earth, or 75 followed by 17 zeros.

Doing some research I found that it’s believed the universe contains 200 billion trillion stars, or 200 followed by 21 zeros! They figure there are about 2 trillion galaxies containing, on average, 100 billion stars each. So, yes, it seems likely that there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on all the beaches in the world!

It takes a lot of space to contain such a colossal number of stars, but space is big. It’s taken up to 14 billion years for the light from the farthest galaxies to get to earth! It’s a very big universe, and in fact, it may be much bigger than we can now measure.

Producing astronomical amounts of energy, these 200 billion trillion stars were all created by God who is omnipotent (being all powerful). Spaced out over unimaginable distances, they’re all surrounded, each and every one of them, by the very presence of God who is omnipresent (being all places present). Scattered through space in mind-boggling numbers, they’re known in the minutest detail, every subatomic particle of each and every one of them, by God who is omniscient (being all knowing).

As awesome as the universe is in size and scope, the Creator of it all simply spoke it into being! It did not at all fatigue Him. Our idea of God is too small!

This same awesome God who made stars numbering more than the sand on the seashores also made us humans in His own image to share in His great cosmic plan for all eternity to come. The next time we face what we think is a big challenge or problem, or feel unimportant, we need to remember this!

“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.” Isaiah 59:1

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