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The Cosmic Shooting Gallery

Have you ever gone out on a cold, clear moonless night and spent some time looking at the stars?

When we take the time to see the incredible show the creation puts on every night, it certainly causes some famous biblical passages to come alive.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:3-5)

The most amazing thing to me about taking a good look at the stars is not just trying to take in their beauty and majesty.

It is trying to wrap my mind around this simple thought –

The One Who created the entire universe is mindful of me.

In fact the Bible tells us that God thinks about us constantly.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You. (Psalm 139:17-18)

Nationally acclaimed speaker and author Gayle Erwin once observed that since God has more thoughts toward us than the number of grains of sand on the earth, that means that He thinks about each of us more than six times every second!

God is not only awesomely powerful but intimately personal in His involvement with each of us.

And as it turns out, that is a very good thing.

A cosmic incident took place  yesterday that happened so fast you probably missed it.

In fact it’s a good thing we all did.

Space Rock Gives Earth a Close Shave

An asteroid of a similar size to a rock that exploded above Siberia in 1908 with the force of a thousand atomic bombs whizzed close past Earth on Monday, astronomers said on Tuesday.2009 DD45, estimated to be between 21 and 47 meters (68 and 152 feet) across, raced by at 1344 GMT on Monday, the Planetary Society and astronomers’ blogs reported.

The gap was just 72,000 kilometers (44,750 miles), or a fifth of the distance between Earth and the Moon and only twice the height of satellites in geosynchronous orbit, the website said.

The estimated size is similar to that of an asteroid or comet that exploded above Tunguska, Siberia, on June 30 1908, flattening 80 million trees in a swathe of more than 2,000 square kilometres (800 square miles).

2009 DD45 was spotted last Saturday by astronomers at the Siding Spring Survey in Australia, and was verified by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Centre (MPC), which catalogues Solar System rocks.

The closest flyby listed by the MPC is 2004 FU162, a small asteroid about six metres (20 feet) across which came within about 6,500 kms (4,000 miles) of us in March 2004.

Thanks to the work of groups like the Minor Planet Center, we are discovering a rather disconcerting truth.

Space isn’t as spacious as we used to think.

In fact there are all kinds of unpredictable close encounters with asteroids and comets that happen all the time.

Rather than seeing the Earth as a safely isolated island of life, more and more scientists are coming to the conclusion that we are like a duck in a cosmic shooting gallery.

So why aren’t we continually bombarded by pot shots from outer space?

In a sense we are.

Consider this summary from the Yahoo Answers web site:

Several million meteors hit our atmosphere every year.

Most of them will start off as the size of a grain of sand or smaller. A few bigger ones, maybe the size of a microwave oven or a football might make it all the way to the ground.

By the time they hit the ground, or more likely the sea, they will be about the size of a potato and might even look a bit like one.

One might go through a house roof like the one in New Zealand a few years ago, or hit a parked car as in the USA a bit longer ago. Most of them will do no damage at all.

Big meteors, big enough to do some real damage?

Well there was one in Siberia in 1908 and another back sometime in the mid 1800s which fell in the Arabian desert, and there was probably another over the South Atlantic Ocean in the 1970s, and there have probably been ones over the oceans that nobody knows about, so it is possible that there will be some damage in any year.

Could happen tomorrow or in 5 seconds, might be another 500 years before it does.

So what keeps us safe?

Better to ask  – Who keeps us safe?

An awesome picture of both the power of God and his passionate protection of His people is found in Isaiah 40.

To whom then will you liken Me,
Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who has created these things,
Who brings out their host by number;
He calls them all by name,
By the greatness of His might
And the strength of His power;
Not one is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob,
And speak, O Israel:

“ My way is hidden from the LORD,
And my just claim is passed over by my God”?
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the LORD,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:25-31)

So the next time you walk out on a cold cloudless night and take a look at the stars, remember the One Who calls each of them by name.

And the next time you see a falling star, remember the One Who will never let us fall.

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