O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:1-9, New Revised Standard Version)
I stood on the signal bridge of the USS Mt. Whitney. It was about 1500 (3:00 in the afternoon) on a beautiful fall day traveling across the Atlantic Ocean. The horizon is twelve miles away. We were on an independent steaming exercise so there were no other ships around us.
There wasn’t much movement on the water with seas about one foot or less. The sun was shining, it was a “chamber of commerce day” if you actually had chamber of commerce days out on the water.
Ten hours later, I am back on the signal bridge. It is 0100 (1:00 AM.). The sky was just as clear but the wind had picked up and the seas were between two and four feet. Looking up at the sky, there are so many stars, likely it is more than you have ever seen. The stars are so thick it would be impossible to even attempt to count them.
Five hours later, things have changed. The wind is blowing hard across the bridge. The water is rough. Seas are twelve to fifteen feet. Rain is driving into our faces. Visibility is perhaps three miles. The sun is starting to rise on what is definitely not a “chamber of commerce day.” This last hour of bridge watch is passing way too slowly. I am ready get something for breakfast and then to my rack for some sleep before getting up to go on watch again at noon.
All the scenarios above were true. They happened many times over in my three and a half years aboard the Mt. Whitney. Just about every time I was at sea, at some point I would look around me and think to myself, “When I first reported aboard Mt. Whitney, standing on the pier, looking up at the ship, it seemed huge.
Once at sea, looking out at a vast ocean, twelve miles in any direction direction and no other ship in sight, you come to realize just how insignificant you are. A ship that seems so large with a crew larger than the population some small towns. I was one of 550 souls onboard. When I went to the mess decks to eat it always seemed like so many people, but compared to the vast ocean, we were like a cork in a bathtub.
When the weather turned bad, it became even easier to think about insignificance because the weather would drive so much of what we did. There was much we could control but the weather would remind us of how much we could not. The could not far exceeded what we could control. We were insignificant compared to what God can do and does do in the world around us.
Then standing on the bridge at night and looking knowing how much water is around us and then looking up at the night sky, seeing all the stars, it reminds you of the vastness of all God’s creation. It’s one thing to look at the horizon and seeing twelve miles of water in any direction (and knowing you are one of five oceans in the world) it is another to think that we are on one planet (and not even a big planet), in one relatively small solar system, that is a pretty insignificant part of the Milky Way Galaxy, and that is not the only galaxy in the universe. That would mean, you and I are nothing more than specs of dust in universe. We are nothing in comparison to all God created.
The psalmist wrote in Psalm 8, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? (Psalm 8:3-4)
It is a serious question. When we are such an insignificant part of the universe, why does God want with us? The psalmist asks essentially the same question, “What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?”
He goes on, “You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet.” (Psalm 8:6) This verse adds on to the question he was already asking.
It boils down to this, in God’s eyes we are relevant. Think about it this way, in Genesis 1, with what God created each day, Scripture says, “…and it was good.” On the sixth day, God created us and Scripture says, “…and it was very good.”
From the beginning, God has wanted us, has wanted a relationship with us. You and I are the pinnacle of God’s creation. God made us and gave us dominion over all the rest of creation.
In comparison to the vastness or God’s creation, we are insignificant. Compared to the size of much of what God created, we are nothing. And, yet, God entrusted all of creation to us. I think that is a pretty good indication of how much God loves us. God loves us enough, as the psalmist reminds us, that we are created by God, to be just a little lower than God and that out of all God created, it was you and me that God crowned with glory and honor. Friend, to me, that says, God never thought of us as insignificant no matter how much the universe might make us feel that way. To God, we are relevant.
Seeking the Genuine,
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved