As you begin the year 2018, encourage yourself with the wonderful contrast found in Psalm 147! The psalmist wrote in verse 3 that the LORD “heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds” (or literally, “their sorrows”), and then immediately added that God also “counts the number of stars; He gives names to all of them” (verse 4). Tenderness and awesomeness, side by side. The comforting arms that hold us capably hold the universe as well.
The psalmist wanted us to know that the same God who tenderly and caringly draws near to the struggling, the hurting, the discouraged and the disappointed is also the God who is great enough to name every single star in the universe.
Scientists have concluded that there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on this planet. Estimates put the score at about:
And God calls each of those stars by an individual name. No wonder the very next verse in the psalm says, “Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite!” I can hardly remember one person’s name just 2 minutes after being introduced to them! Yet God can recall the names of 70 thousand million million million stars!
But this contrast goes even further. Even though God may know all the stars by name, He has much more than mere knowledge of our sorrows and disappointments. The psalmist writes that He “heals” those who are hurting, and carefully “binds up” their wounds and heartaches. Consider this! He tenderly touches us with those same strong hands that hold every massive star in the universe. And on top of that, because “His understanding is infinite,” we can be sure that we can trust His wisdom. He knows what He’s doing as He leads us through whatever we’re going through.
So if you’re wearily carrying heartfelt sorrows or deferred hopes into this new year of 2018, take heart! The same God who has every star in the universe accounted for according to His infinite understanding and strength, is also attentively looking after our hearts.