Archive for November, 2015

Solar System Reflection

by Lori Merkley, 3rd Grade Teacher

The third grade just finished their unit on the Solar System. Every year I struggle with how to help the students grasp the immensity of the universe in relationship to the earth.  Let’s face it, I struggle teaching them that concept because I struggle with visualizing the scope of the universe too.  I would imagine we all do, don’t we?

This year I tried something different.  I asked the students to think of the universe as our school building and our classroom as the Milky Way Galaxy and then I compared those two things to the earth. I told them to think of the earth as the size of a grain of sand and they were living on that grain of sand.   Finally, in order for them to see how large God is and how small we are I told them to imagine God holding the entire school building (the universe) in just one of His hands.  This blew all of our minds away, and yet I felt like I was still missing something.

God in His immense understanding knew this, and this weekend He showed me what I missed.  He gently whispered in my ear that I was looking at it all wrong.  He told me to look up at the stars and asked me what I saw.  I said I saw a ‘bunch of tiny bright lights’.  Then he reminded me that each one of those ‘tiny bright lights’ was a sun in its own galaxy.  Some had planets much like the Milky Way and some did not.  The point was that all I could see was the sun, because the planets were too far away and too ‘tiny’ for my eyes to perceive them.

It dawned on me that if I were in different galaxy elsewhere in the universe looking back toward earth; that is what the Milky Way would look like to me.  From far away it is so small that all I would see is the light coming from our sun.   This made me feel so small and insignificant!  Who was I?  The gigantic universe pales in comparison to God.  Smaller yet in significance is our very own solar system, and even smaller still on one of the smallest planets in that system dwells all of mankind.   As I sat humbled by the fact that I am nothing in comparison with a universe of such immensity and grandeur, God whispered one more time in my ear.  He said, “Indeed you are nothing and cannot match up against all that I have created.  And yet, you are more splendid in my eyes than all the galaxies combined.  Though you are smaller than a grain of sand in comparison, I see you as clear as day.  In fact I have counted every hair on your head and saved every tear you have shed.  I know when you awake and when you lie down.  I know your thoughts before you even know them yourself. And though you are far from me, I am always by your side.”

Stunned by this realization, I chastised myself for ever believing the lie that God does not care or know about any of my problems.  You see, in trying to teach my students about the power of God when he created our immense universe, I forgot to teach them about the immense love of God that it displays.  He didn’t just create the universe to show off His power and grandeur, but to show the depth of His love for his ultimate creation-mankind.  This weekend that immense God took the time to show me, a grain of sand, that though He is so far beyond my scope of understanding, I am not beyond His.

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