For several years, I’ve noticed comments that begin something like, “I think the universe is telling me…” This has always struck me as bizarre because the universe is, in fact, very cold (in more ways than one!), uncaring, and impersonal. However, I have come to understand that these comments are a reflection of the deep desire that people have to give their lives meaning and purpose.
Over the past three months, I have been gathering examples of this kind of comment; I’ll start with this group of four:
- Phoenix University TV commercial: “Ever get a sign the universe is trying to tell you something?”
- Gary to Maggie on the TV show A Million Little Things: “It just feels like maybe the universe is trying to tell us something.”
- Catherine Ryan Hyde’s novel Just After Midnight: “It’s like something in the universe would see that it was just too wrong for us [teen girl and horse] to be apart, and make sure it didn’t end that way.”
- My neighbor: “I’m considering the pandemic over until the universe tells me otherwise.”
The first two are essentially the same in that they are said in a rather general sense. The next two are very specific–one regarding a girl and her horse, the other regarding the pandemic. Now, if you substitute “God” for “universe” into those statements, what do they sound like? Here’s the first one: “Ever get a sign God is trying to tell you something?” That sounds pretty Biblical if you’re a believer!
Here are two more comments by two actors, each with their own brand of uniqueness:
- Chiwetel Ejiofor: “Human beings can love and laugh and enjoy each other’s company because we are afforded this space and luxury by a planet that cares for us.”
- Jabari Banks: “I always say, if you ask the universe or God for something, they’re gonna send it your way.”
In the comment by Chiwetel Ejiofor, he uses the word “planet” rather than “universe.” Much more significantly, however, notice the phrase “that cares for us.” That’s taking it to another level, to put it mildly. Now, if you substitute “God” for “planet,” the last phrase reads: “by a God that cares for us.” Now, that is very Scriptural! In the other comment, Jabari Banks tries to have it both ways by “ask[ing] the universe or God for something,” in addition to making an assertion which is not necessarily true even if you remove “the universe.”
All of these comments are sad because they are reflections of people who are looking to the universe, which is very impersonal, for meaning and direction. They’re also ironic in that these people are looking to the creation rather than the Creator, Who they have rejected, at least until now. In sharp contrast, there are many passages in the Bible which speak of God in a very personal way. One passage that comes to mind is Isaiah 43:1-7. The second part of verse 1 says: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” The Creator of the universe knows each of His people and has called each one by name. In the second part of verse 6 and on into verse 7, we read: “Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth–everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Each person who has trusted Jesus Christ for salvation is a son or daughter of God. And in fact, when Jesus taught His disciples what we commonly call the Lord’s Prayer, He taught us, God’s sons and daughters, to begin with “Our Father.” It’s amazing that we can actually address the Creator of the universe in this way!
Which makes more sense: to look to the impersonal universe (albeit created by God) for purpose and guidance, or to a God who invites His children to call Him their Father? For me, the choice is simple. If you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, I pray that will change, even today.
Within the last three weeks, there have been two more horrific mass shootings: one (killing ten) at a supermarket in Buffalo, NY, and the other (killing 21, including 19 children) at an elementary school in Uvalde, TX. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that many of my posts are in response to current events. Last year, I wrote a post about a Biblical response to mass-death events; click here if you’re interested: https://keithpetersenblog.com/2021/04/07/how-should-we-respond-to-mass-death-events/