Jim went to bed before me last night and was out cold when I went to bed. That’s dangerous. When we go to bed at the same time, we talk for a while before we pray and call it a night. This helps me wind down. On the nights when he goes to bed first or he’s too tired to talk much, my mind winds up. Last night was one of those night.
Last night my mind tried to wrap itself around the number of people in the world: roughly 7.25 billion. That’s 14.5 billion feet, hands, and eyes, 75 billion fingers and toes, and almost 20 trillion square feet of intestines (I told you my thinking was dangerous!). I can’t even compute the number of hairs on all those heads (although Jim brings the average number of hairs per head down…)
On a more serious note, last night I couldn’t help but thinking about all the joys, sorrows, tears and laughter those 7.25 billion people represent. My mind wandered to weddings and babies, murders and violence, job promotions and job losses, crime, disease, and poverty, children and grandchildren, vacations and family time…so much human joy and suffering represented by the billions of souls on the earth just at this moment in time. Compound that by 6,000 years of humanity and it is overwhelming.
What mellowed me the most last night was that every human being is looking for purpose and direction, desiring to be important and cared about, wishing to have a place among the many. And most of the people are lost. The number of Christians in the world in 2010 was 2 billion. That means 5 billion people do not even claim to know Christ. But then Jesus says in Matthew 7:21,”Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven.” Which means that far fewer people than the number who claim to be Christians really know Christ. Yet it is only by Christ we can truly have that which we seek: purpose and direction and true love and value. It is only by Christ we can have a place in this world and the next. That is quite sobering.
At that point last night I felt very insignificant in the masses of humanity. Then I was reminded that while I cannot compute the number of hairs on the head, God knows the number of hairs on the head of every person that has ever existed and ever will exist at all points in their life. One hair cannot fall off our heads without God knowing about it (Matthew 10:30).While I may feel insignificant at times, in God’s eyes I am very significant. In fact, in Hebrews 2:7 I am told that I (and every human) is just a little lower than the angels who have the face of God.
My mind then wandered to Jesus on the cross. I couldn’t but think about something I learned from a very wise woman years ago: Jesus went to the cross for not only our sins, but also for our sorrows. He went to the cross to wipe away every tear that falls (Revelation 21:4). The death of a loved one? Jesus died to wipe away that pain. Getting fired? Jesus died for that hurt. Divorce? Cancer? Poverty? Rape? Jesus died to heal those sorrows. Jesus took all that pain, all that sin, and all that hurt, on the cross and promised that one day it would be gone.
But what about the masses who didn’t, don’t, and won’t believe? Those who deny Christ? Those who claim to be Christian but whose hearts are far away from Jesus? I have a burden for those people. In fact my heartbreaks for them. Sometimes I weep for them. And Christ weeps for them too.
Thinking such thoughts strengthens my resolve to witness Jesus to others. I am reminded about the story of the person on the beach who was throwing the starfish into the sea. Another person commented that there were too many starfish for him to save. The person’s response? To throw another starfish into the waters and reply, “Made a difference for that one.”
Last night, for all my musings, it boiled down to a few bullet points:
• With God there are no masses…just individuals
• God loves each individual as if he/she were the only one on the earth
• I also am an individual to God, loved by him
• My job then is to reach out to individuals with the love of Jesus
Will you join me?
In His love,