Planet-Viewing in an Observatory Hotel

screen-shot-2017-03-06-at-4-25-40-pm
Credits: Sevensuiteshotel.com

Some time ago, my husband had to attend a training in Antipolo, a hilly semi-rural area a few hours from Manila, and we decided to stay at a boutique hotel that houses a space observatory on the rooftop. It was said to have one of only four existing extremely sharp high-resolution telescopes in the Philippines.

I found myself enjoying every minute of our stay, probably because when hubby was out attending to business, I got to do my dream job—writing on my laptop in my pajamas on a terrace overlooking verdant hills, surrounded by greenery in the cool crisp mountain air. The nearest building was a restaurant just a short walk away where my husband and I had our dinners.

On the second night, we decided to go to the rooftop and check out the observatory. A local scientist/ astronomer was there as our “space guide” to help us with an enormous ultra-sensitive telescope.

High up Antipolo’s hills, the stars were truly a sight to behold. We saw one planet up close—I’ve actually forgotten what it was—could be Venus. But when the scientist showed me Saturn, I was totally astounded. The only thing I could think of was, “Oh my God, it’s real!!”. Seeing the planet and the rings, not in a textbook or on a website but in its actual reality, half of it lit by the sun—it just felt surreal. It was utterly beautiful.

Seeing things like these kind of shakes your perspective a little. Especially when you’ve been preoccupied with petty little things in your very small part of the world.

The same kind of feeling seizes astronauts when they view earth from space. That feeling of awe and wonder when you realize how small your world is in the grand scheme of things.

Imagine what it would be like seeing the universe through the Hubble telescope, which is said to be the most highly advanced satellite telescope ever. Images gathered by the Hubble show myriads of galaxies and constellations in an ever-expanding universe.

This tells us one thing—we are but a speck of dust in a boundless, limitless cosmos. Even with the most powerful lenses, scientists have yet to see the edge of the universe, if it even has one. A tiny speck of dust in a huge plethora of stars through unending light-years of space, billions and billions of them, too many to be numerically documented. We seem to be just a tiny speck of dust in a tiny dot which is our solar system, which is but a tiny dot in our galaxy, which is but just one among billions and billions.

cosmos
Hubble telescope image from Los Angeles Times

The sheer vastness of space could just make one feel insignificant. Irrelevant. Unimportant…

Yet here’s the mind-blowing part: The One who created all that is the same One who created you and me. And He considers you important and precious enough to sacrifice and die for.

Just think about it. To Him, you are valuable enough that He was willing to leave heaven for a while, take on the form of a human, suffer mockings and torture at the hands of the very people He came for and be nailed to death so He could get His message of love, freedom, and victory to you. You—a minute particle in the grand design of creation.

The psalmist even wrote,

“What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:4)

Biblical history shows God’s obsession with reaching out to man despite his stubborn insistence on following his own errant ways. In God’s Book, man is the crown of His creation, His beloved, the apple of His eye whom He wants to be with forever.

Yet our puny mindsets dictate our belief that He couldn’t possibly love us individually. Our clouded vision thinks He could probably love all of us as a whole—humanity in a general sense, just as a rockstar could “love” his audience or a politician could “love” the poor. And even if He could love us individually, our feeble thinking believes He couldn’t possibly pay attention to all of us at the same time.

We mistakenly ascribe human qualities and limitations to an eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, Almighty God.

And this is where we begin to go wayward in our thinking. If you find it hard to believe that He knows everything about you and loves you enough to die for you, just consider the works of His hands. Have you ever known anything or anyone else capable of creating such majesty, such awesome wonders with such precision and wisdom?

"You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. 2You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.4Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.5You hem me in behind and before,and you lay your hand upon me. 6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain (Psalm 139:1-6)

“Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered…” – Jesus (Matthew 10:30)

If He could create billions and billions of clusters of galaxies in a never-ending space, and fill the earth with a multitude of awe-inspiring creation, how hard could it be for Him to pay attention to you and love you every single moment?

 

Question: Has there ever been a time when you found it hard to reconcile the awesome majesty of space and creation, and how the Creator feels about you? Please leave a comment 🙂
Advertisements