There are a lot of people in the world, over six billion at the last estimate. Six billion is a number that is hard for me to imagine in physical form. Six billion seconds is over 190 years. Six billion miles would get you to the sun and back over 32 times. I could go on, but I’ll spare you the numbers.
Over six billion people are alive today, and who knows how many have been alive throughout history. When I think of all the incredible figures throughout history, it’s hard to see how anything I do will ever register as important. It’s unlikely that I’ll change the face of science, or start some amazing religious movement, or be a pivotal part of history. It’s much more likely that I will live a long, good life, know a lot of people, and quietly fade away from human memory shortly after my death. Very few people will read this now, and probably none will read it in 20 years. To be blunt, I’m not that important.
But in spite of that, God says I am important. “What is the price of five sparrows?” Jesus asks. “Two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more to God than a whole flock of sparrows” (Luke 12:6-7). David writes that God knew us and knit us together before we were born. Paul writes that God determined the places that each of us would live, hoping that we might seek him and find him, though he is not far from each of us. Many times, God is pictured as a shepherd who knows his sheep and calls them by name.
I believe in a shepherd who knows the sheep he created. I believe he thinks every sheep is so important that he is willing to leave ninety-nine who are safe in order to find one – only one – who is in danger, away from the safety of the flock under the shepherd’s care. I believe that in spite of the vastness and enormity of the universe, the God who can comprehend all of that somehow and for some reason knows my name, and cares about what happens in my life.
next: I believe in a God who wrestles with me