Word-y Gifts for Christian Faith & Life

How “lucky” are we?

The new National Geographic show One Strange Rock is fascinating. In it, a group of astronauts who together have spent over a thousand days in space explain all kinds of interesting things about the earth; everything from how it was (probably) formed, its place in the universe, how it became pretty much the only place in the cosmos known to be conducive to life (and, particularly complex life), and so on. Between listening to them and admiring the show’s breathtaking photographs of the earth, I’ve been struck by how many times I’ve heard the phrases “we think” and “what probably happened” or “it just so happened” in their explanations of some of the most consequential occurrences as well as the number of “collisions” and “accidents” behind the events. Most striking, however, are the results: the earth is in a zone that is “just right” for life to thrive; somehow maintains the right amount of oxygen in the atmosphere to keep things stable; has several mechanisms that protect it from the destructive ways of the sun; its water is abundant and exists in all three forms; and so on.

These “accidents” and their results remind me of the book of Ruth where God is not mentioned and does not directly intervene in the events, but extraordinary and consequential things happen in the protagonist’s life, all preceded by the phrase “it happened that …” (Ruth 2:3). I’m persuaded that whatever it is that “just so happens” to be keeping the earth in just the right place and preventing another dinosaur-killing asteroid from hitting it is clearly on our side. After all, given all the movement and collisions in space, something could “just happen” to hit and push the earth closer to the sun or something; or, like Venus, we too could lose all our water! 😊 In the meantime, while we still have our incredibly beautiful home, we could think of ourselves as lucky and thank our “lucky stars” for our extraordinary good fortune or, like Naomi and Ruth, thank God for His astronomical blessings.

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