How Far Away is God?
As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.... Isaiah 66:13
How far away is God? Tough question, right? Even pondering an answer brings us a host of other questions. How do you measure distance between us and God--miles or kilometers as we measure distance? Or should we measure distance in terms of light years as scientists measure the distance between us and the heavenly bodies?
Accepting the account of Genesis 1, which begins, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," we would assume that God is larger than that which He has created. In other words, the creator of anything has to be greater, more intelligent, even more powerful than that which he has created. But even that admission creates some rather large problems for many people.
For example, as they ponder the vastness of creation, they feel dwarfed, absolutely lost in a sea of insignificance. A pilot friend expressed that feeling as he related flying at an altitude of 7 miles above the surface of the earth, seeing cities of 10 to 12 million people pass by in a few minutes and thinking, "How could God--way up there somewhere--look down on all those little creatures down there and know what's happening in their lives, to say nothing about being concerned about them individually?"
When he was on the moon as part of the Apollo flight, astronaut Jim Irwin drove a Lunar Module craft, dubbed the million-dollar golf cart by critics. Jim said that if you were standing on the moon and look back towards the earth, if you held your hand at arms length, the earth would be about the size of the average man's thumb nail.
But I've never been on the moon. Can I believe Irwin? Of course! I accept his word at face value. Think of it--the earth with 6 billion people on it, not much bigger than the size of a postage stamp from just 229,000 miles away. But how far away is God?
Mistake #1: Thinking that God is bound by the same laws of time and space as we mortals. The Bible makes it clear that God is not a man, nor is He limited by the physical laws which limit us. He made those laws but is above them.
Mistake #2: Confusing space with value. Sure, the universe is large, but God's children are of more importance than empty space. Visualize a childless couple with a 20-room house filled with antiques and priceless paintings of the world's greatest artists. But then a little child comes into their lives. At last, a little infant is born, and an upstairs bedroom becomes the nursery. If fire should break out, is the father concerned with the tapestries on the wall or the oriental rugs on the floor? No, the smell of smoke would send him scurrying to save the life of his tiny son. Space isn't important; people are.
Mistake #3: Limiting God. In my possession is a little piece of silicon and plastic called fiber optical cable. It's what has replaced old-fashioned telephone lines. The scientist who gave it to me says that 60,000 conversations can take place at the same time--all passing through that conduit. I don't understand how it works; I take it by faith.
Mistake #4: Failing to discover how important you are to our Heavenly Father. How do we learn this? Through the testimony of men fully human who recorded the message of God's love and care in the pages of the Bible. They tell us precisely how far away God is: He's as close as our heart cry but as far away as our unbelief and our refusal to trust Him. To experience some things, you must take them by faith. It's a fact!
Resource reading: Psalm 19:1-14