Last night, at church, we watched a video of Louie Giglio – “Indescribable”. This video included images taken by Hubble, and the last image that was shown is the one you see above, which can be downloaded from hubble.org. The Whirlpool Galaxy is approximately 31 million light years away from Earth, and this picture is of “the X Structure”, which is at the center of the Whirlpool Galaxy. I don’t know about you, but to me, THIS is INDESCRIBABLE. I was absolutely floored by jaw-dropping wonder when I first saw this image. Only God can make a person feel so small and yet so loved at the same time.
So, being a runner who is re-learning math (with the help of a very old series of self-study books, starting with “Arithmetic For The Practical Man”) , with this image burned into my mind along with, perhaps, the old adages “run to the cross” and “run to Jesus”, I asked myself a question. You might think it a silly one, but it just popped into my head and I had to know…. “how many years would it take to run, non-stop, to the Whirlpool Galaxy from Earth at a rate of 10 minutes per mile?” So….. I did the math.
First, let’s take a look at the numbers. The Whirlpool Galaxy is 31 million LIGHT YEARS away. There are approximately 6 TRILLION miles in ONE Light Year (the “exact” number is 5,878,625,373,184), which makes TWG roughly 182 quintillion miles away from earth (5,878,625,373,184 X 31,000,000 = 182,237,386,568,704 X 10 raised to the sixth power). For a little bit of perspective, the Sun is 93 million miles away from Earth, and at a 10 minute/mile pace, would take approximately 63,700 years to run to. At this same pace, it would take about 125,000,000,000,000,000 (125 QUADRILLION) years to run to “the cross”. Actually, that would just get you to the outer edges of the Whirlpool Galaxy, and you’d still have several million more miles to go. To offer even more perspective, the Universe itself is estimated to be about 14 billion years old. The Universe would have to outlive itself 900 times over to give you the time to make this ultimate marathon of a journey.
So, now I know. I can’t run to the cross. It is too far, too high. Completely and utterly unattainable. As Matthew West says in one of my favorite songs, I’m not strong enough. I give up.
Thank God that He never asked me to “run to the cross”. No, HE descended from Heaven and HE ran to US. And all that is left for us to do is simply open the door.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” ~Revelation 3:20
…I do still like the saying, though. 😉