Googol (Yes, That’s Spelled Correctly)

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How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
     If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you. (Psalm 139:17-18)

Back in 1920, mathematician Edward Kasner came up with a new number – a 1 followed by 100 zeros – but he didn’t know what to call it. So, he asked his nine-year-old nephew to come up with a name and his nephew came up with the word googol. Ask your kids what they would’ve named the number. Because of Milton’s suggestion, his name is in the history books. And yes, that’s where the word google came from, except the spelling is different.

A googol is a large number, but it is NOT the largest number. In fact, there is no largest number because whatever number we come up, we can always add one more.

(My own childhood memory is me telling my mom that I loved her more than all the numbers in the world and then she would answer. “I love you more than all the numbers in the world plus one.” And I would say, “I love you more than THAT number plus one.” This conversation could go on for a long time – especially when I was supposed to be getting ready for bed.)

Why all this talk about googol and other large numbers?

Because we read in Psalms that God’s thoughts toward us are more than the grains of sand and even though there are estimates on how many grains of sand there are in the world, no one knows because there are just TOO many.

So whether we measure God’s thoughts as more than a googol ..

Or whether we measure them as more than the grains of sand …

We do KNOW for sure that there are a lot of them.

We can’t even imagine how many thoughts God has. Our kids can’t fathom that either.

But we can tell them. We can explain that God is always thinking about His people. We can emphasize how much God loves us, and cares about us. That’s why He gave us His Word, so we can know how to live our best lives. That doesn’t mean a life that always goes well, but it does mean a life where God is always with us, comforting us, giving us peace, helping us …

What a very cool thing to teach our kids.



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