Since she was a small girl, Sister Jean B. Bingham — now the Relief Society general president — has loved to watch the night sky.
“If you look up into the sky on a clear night, you can see glowing planets and twinkling stars,” she told students at Brigham Young University-Idaho during a campus devotional on Nov. 27. “On some nights, you will see the moon, depending on whether there’s clouds or not, sometimes you may see a meteor or shooting star scooting across the sky.”
From the darkest parts of the earth, the naked human eye is able to see about 5,000 stars, but from a brightly lit city street, only around 100 stars are visible, Sister Bingham said. Depending on lighting and location, a person may see a few stars or “an incredible array of stars dusting the velvet expanse that is so numerous it boggles the mind.”
Using some of the world’s most powerful instruments to calculate, astronomers in Australia concluded there are at least 70 sextillion stars in the entire visible universe.
“Does knowing that make you feel small?” Sister Bingham asked. “Contemplating that incredible number fills me with a humble yet exhilarating realization that, among all that vastness, our Father in Heaven knows not only where I am but who I am and what I am thinking and doing and struggling with. And He knows everything about you, and loves you more than you can even comprehend.”
That knowledge helps individuals know that they are valued and essential in God’s plan of happiness.
“Among all those millions and billions and quadrillions of stars, no two are exactly alike,” she said. “They differ in brightness and color, in size and location, in age and mass — and they are all important in God’s design.”
Recognizing that sometimes individuals may feel they don’t fit in or they don’t have much to contribute, Sister Bingham reminded listeners that from a Heavenly Parents’ perfect perspective, each one of Their children has been created for a divine purpose, has infinite worth and has a vital work to accomplish in life.
Story by Marianne Holman Prescott, image by Cami Su, BYU-Idaho