‘Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counsellor?’ (Isaiah 40:12-13)
My grasp of interstellar navigation is sketchy, to say the least. But a quick Google search tells me that our nearest star (Proxima Centauri in the Alpha Centauri system) is 4.24 light years away. If my maths is correct, that equates to a distance of about 22 trillion miles. This, I remind you, is the distance to our nearest star: the galactic equivalent of popping down to the shops.
When we start talking about space, the distances involved quickly become mind-boggling. But this is the universe our God created. When Isaiah talks about God marking off the heavens ‘with the breadth of his hand’, this is the sheer scale of God’s work which he communicates, whether or not Isaiah himself would have fully understood that at the time. We so easily forget just how awesome our God is (and in fact, we probably don’t fully grasp that at the best of times) but Isaiah’s words remind us of God’s immense power and majesty.
On the other hand, Isaiah also emphasises God’s love and gentleness. In verse 11, God ‘tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart’.
As we pray, this is the God we call out to: the God who is staggeringly powerful but also wonderfully caring. So we can pray with confidence, knowing that God is big enough to answer and loving enough to listen.
I don’t pretend to know what you’re contending with at the moment, but I hope it encourages you to know that our awesome God is with you in the midst of it all. I also hope it inspires you to pray, however unlikely it might seem right now that you’ll get the answers you want.