How Much is ‘So’?

Psalm 103:11 is a marvel to meditate: “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him.”

Many people have expounded on this verse to show that God’s love is unfailing and steadfast toward all who follow Him faithfully and worship Him in reverential fear. The basic thought is that God’s great love is even greater than the distance between heaven and earth.

To appreciate that distance, especially in relation to God’s love, we might ask ourselves, “Just how much is so?”

Those who dabble in the legitimate science of stars and the universe have provided some interesting statistics. The sun is the closest star to Earth at 150,000,000 kilometers (km) or 93,000,000 miles. A kilometer equals 0.6214 miles, or 1,000 meters. To cover that distance, light from the sun takes 8.3 minutes to reach Earth.

Light moves at a velocity of about 300,000 km per second. That’s 186,282 miles per second, according to the late scientific genius Albert Einstein. The nearest star to the sun, called “Proxima Centauri,” is about 4.22 light-years away. That’s 24,807,799,784,068 miles away. It would take the fastest spacecraft more than 50,000 years to get there!

Wrap your brain around this mind-boggling thought, if you can: To reach the edge of the universe, which some feel is constantly expanding, would take about 15 billion light-years. Some people will disagree with these calculations, and that’s fine. The point remains the same: God’s love is so great that it is truly awe-inspiring.

The birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem is a manifestation of that love. As Scripture says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). There’s the word so again. This time it refers to the great love God has for sinners, whom He came in the flesh to save.

During these tension-filled days of troubles in the world and personal tribulations, it would be good this Christmas season to focus on the simple word so in regard to God’s great love for you: “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him” (Ps. 103:11, emphasis added).

If you don’t have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, there’s no better time than now to avail yourself of His great redeeming love.

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