I Stand In Awe
by Joy Martin, Set Me Free Ministries Co-founder
In the very, very early morning hours of Monday, August 6, something pretty cool happened. Chances are, you were sleeping. Unless, of course, you’re a little crazy like my husband Zach, who actually set his alarm so he could wake up and watch coverage on the NASA channel. Because on that morning at about 12:30 our time, the rover Curiosity landed on the surface of Mars.
If you haven't seen any of the pictures the rover has sent back, you really should take a minute to perform a quick online search to check them out. I was never much of a science girl, but even I am taken aback by the pictures. Now, admittedly, they're nothing spectacular to look at, and if I didn't know what they were, I wouldn't be impressed. The color photos I've seen look like a reddish, rocky desert. But I do know what they are–they are pictures taken from the surface of Mars! And that, my friends, impresses me.
Honestly, when I first heard about Curiosity, I didn't think much of it. Sad, perhaps, but true. But when I started learning the details of Curiosity's journey, my amazement grew. For example, did you know that Curiosity travelled 352 million miles to reach Mars? (That's the equivalent of circling Earth more than 14,135 times!) And did you know that Curiosity's trek lasted eight long months? But despite the distance covered and the time it took to arrive, Curiosity was able to send pictures back to waiting scientists in just minutes. Incredible! When I try to wrap my brain around those numbers, my head spins!
NASA scientists spent an entire decade and $2.5 billion creating the rover, which will spend about 22 months roaming the surface of Mars searching for signs of life. I don't know what it will find or what sort of contribution its discoveries will make to the future of science, but regardless of how much or how little data Curiosity sends back to Earth, I still stand in amazement. But as much as Curiosity leaves me standing in awe of science, the universe that Curiosity has set out to explore leaves me standing in awe of something much greater–the Creator.
The opening words of the Bible recount the story of Creation: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light 'day,' and the darkness he called 'night.' And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day." (Genesis 1:1-6)
The wonder of God's Creation is repeated throughout Scripture. Psalm 19:1 tells us, "The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork."
And again in Psalm 33:6, we're told, "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth."
The very existence of Creation and the Universe as we know it, with as little as we really understand, cries out in living testimony to our God–the Creator of heaven and Earth. In Luke 19:40, we're told Jesus had the following response to a group of Pharisees who were trying to get Jesus to silence His disciples for praising Him: "But He answered and said to them, 'I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.'”
And yet, the same God who created the Universe and who the rocks themselves will praise if the rest of us fall silent also took the care to create each of us. In Psalm 139:13-14 we're told, "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." And more than that–He doesn't simply know our physical form. He knows us intimately–He knows our hearts and thoughts. Verses 2-3 of Psalm 139 tell us: "O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways."
And THAT, my friends, is truly amazing! So as man continues to explore the Universe for the unknown, we can marvel in the fact that the all-knowing, all-powerful God of the Universe loves us in a mighty way.