It’s called “Galaxy Cluster SMACS 0723,” and according to NASA, it’s an image that includes thousands of galaxies deep into space. Incredibly, according to space agency officials, the image is “the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length, a tiny sliver of the vast universe.”

Officials are heralding the finding as a great advancement, suggesting images from the James Webb Space Telescope will lead to information previously unknown.

What crosses your mind when you look into the skies and see the stars at night?

I’m reminded of the great hymn, “O Worship the King,” where in the second verse we sing:

O tell of His might and sing of His grace,

Whose robe is the Light, whose canopy space.

His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,

And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

Robert Grant, the hymn’s author back in 1833, was paraphrasing Psalm 104, verses 1-2:

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Lord my God, you are very great!

You are clothed with splendor and majesty,

covering yourself with light as with a garment,

stretching out the heavens like a tent.

Of course, the wonders and expanse of space was a popular theme of the Psalmists, who also wrote:

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? (8:3-4)

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. (19:1)

He determines the number of the stars; He gives to all of them their names. (147:4).

Most of us are overwhelmed by the sheer distance and expanse of outer space, facts that defy the dimensions and limitations here on earth. But when we look “out there” we have a better appreciation of how small we are – and how big God is.

The internet is full of folks expressing awe and wonder at the sights of the stars captured on the Webb telescope, and understandably so. It was Thoreau who observed, “The universe is wider than our views of it.” Surely that’s a bit of what stokes our fascination. Even the atheist or the agnostic recognizes there’s much more than meets the eye.

As Christians, we can and should join the chorus of those celebrating these images – but here is the best news of all:

However awesome and remarkable the photographs from the telescope prove to be, we know that whatever we see with our own eyes this side of eternity will pale in comparison to what we will see on the other side.

We read in Isaiah (64:4) and again in Paul’s first letter to the Church at Corinth, that “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him” (I Cor. 2:9).