What A NASA Scientist Has To Say About God’s Mercy


Last week I wrote a post on God’s unfathomable mercy.  My friend Kevin Hartnett, a NASA scientist who works with the Hubble Telescope, sent me this post he wrote about the same topic…

No eye has seen, nor ear has heard
The fullness found within Your Word
Of endless mercy, love, and grace
That’s higher still than outer space.
Oh, Lord, I kneel before You now
And humbly ask that You’d allow
My soul to touch this endless love
That permeates to realms above.

Kindness is a virtue that carries a long way. People who are full of goodness, mercy, and kindness toward us are the ones we like to be around. In the Old Testament Hebrew language, the word checed (pronounced kheh’-sed) means all these things. It is a word derived from a root word that carries the idea of “ardor” or “zeal” to bless. Our English Bibles translate the word checed using various words like “kindness,” “lovingkindness,” and “goodness.” But chief among words used for it is “mercy.”

In Psalm 57:10, we read that God’s mercy “reaches unto the heavens.” Consider this: perhaps you have a shopping mall or grocery store that’s four miles from your home. When was the last time you told someone it was 6,437,376 millimeters away? “That’s ridiculous,” you say, and you’d be right. Millimeters are much too small to measure a distance of miles. In like manner, miles are much too small a measure to relate a distance that reaches to the heavens. The nearest star is four light-years away, which is nearly 6 trillion miles. But the most distant stars in our galaxy are more than 15,000 times farther away than that and the stars in the farthest galaxies, billions of times farther still. Psalm 103:11 makes it plain: “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love [checed] toward those who fear him” (ESV). That is amazing, but it’s not the end. Psalm 36:5 tells us that God’s mercy not only extends to the heavens but is in the heavens. In Psalm 108:4, God tells us that His mercy is great above the heavens. Do you get the point? It’s hard to imagine how the Lord could more plainly tell us that He is unimaginably full of mercy, that there exists in Him an inextinguishable ardor to bless. What are your burdens today? Health? Relationships? Finances? Barrenness? Go to God. As Psalm 136 repeats over and over and over: “His [checed] endures forever.”

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures forever
Psalm 136:1-5

Read more of Kevin’s devotionals and see more incredible Hubble photos in Kevin’s book, The Heavens

Photo credit: NASA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.