Not So Insignificant

Whenever I hear Alicia Keys sing about New York, I start to have a little anxiety.  If you didn't know before, you will now discover that I'm not a big fan of huge cities.  They're fun to visit, but I cannot imagine living in one day after day.  I suspect this relates to my fear of confined spaces.  (Not that I'm trying to run off to the country either.  Just call me Jennie-in-the-Middle.)

There's a part of the song where she says, "If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere."  And, it's a "concrete jungle where dreams are made - Oh, there's nothing you can't do."

It's interesting.  Whenever I'm in a big city the big lights don't inspire me.  I don't start dreaming big dreams with high hopes of achieving them.  In fact, it only takes a couple of hours before I feel completely and totally insignificant as a human being.  In the midst of millions of other people who are hustling and bustling past me without so much as a glance in my direction, I tend to feel lost in the shuffle, unimportant, inconsequential.  Every time. 

I know that not everyone feels this way.  After all millions of people elect to live in this manner.  It's just not for me, obviously.

The thing is, I don't want to feel perpetually insignificant.  I'm working on my insecurities, and this is a big deal to me.

But then I start thinking - what's bigger than New York City?  The earth.  The solar system.  The galaxy.  The universe.  Oh yeah, that's right.  I'm going there. 

In our universe (this never ending expanse full of heavenly bodies), scientists estimate that there are anywhere between 10 sextillion and 3 septillion stars.  That's a pretty big discrepancy, but even at the more conservative estimate, that's more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on every beach, under every ocean, and in every desert on earth.  (Thank you, wikianswers.)

What does that say about my respective significance?  Do you realize how big stars are?  And how small I am, in the grand scheme of something so large as the universe?

Turns out, I have found the answer.  And instead of making me feel insignificant, it gives me security and hope. 
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Psalm 147:4 (NIV)
Even though there's an indeterminate number of stars in the sky (by human comprehension), God knows how many there are...because He put them there.  He even cares about each of the 3 septillion stars (give or take a few sextillion) enough to call them by name.  They were created as individuals.  If I sometimes feel insignificant as one in a world of seven billion people, imagine how a star would feel as one in three septillion?  You know, if stars had feelings...

And yet...
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Matthew 10:29-30 (NIV)
God knows us so intimately He can enumerate the number of hairs on our head, whether we are one in seven billion or not.  He's talking about each of us.  We are unique in this universe as human beings.  He has given us a soul and the free will to know and love and worship Him.
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
This workmanship was celebrated in Psalm 139.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous--how well I know it.   Psalm 139: 13-14 (NLT)
How often I need to remind myself of this!  My feelings of insignificance are as good as gone when I stop to remember that I am, you are, and we are created in Christ's image to do good works through Him.

I have my "good friend", Beth Moore, to thank for her amazing words in my Bible study last week to tie it all together.  For me, at least.  I feel like this post has been one hot, unorganized mess, but I just felt compelled to write it.  So I don't risk butchering her words in a paraphrase, I'm simply going to quote her here:
I am absolutely convinced that humankind exists because of the Trinity's holy passion to draw others into Their fellowship.  God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit desired the existence of humanity for fellowship.  They wanted humans to have a will of their own so that they would choose God without being commanded.  They knew that equipping people with their own will would necessitate a plan for redemption, because they would ultimately make some very poor choices.  Thus, the plan of salvation was already completely intact before the creation of the world. 
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Why does God single out our little planet to so love?  Beloved, absorb this into the marrow, because we are on it.  As despicable as humanity can be, God loves us.  Inconceivably, we are His treasures.  His prized creation.  He just loves us.
Each and every single one of us.  Whether or not we feel significant in our daily lives, we are absolutely significant in the eyes of the One who created us.  The One who loves us so.
We are so small.  Yet the vastness of His love - so high, so wide, so deep, so long - envelops us as the endless universe envelops a crude little planet God called Earth.

My prayer today is that we will stop and appreciate the value we hold in the eye of our Creator.  When we start to feel insignificant, that we can remember we were uniquely and wonderfully made.  That we will never feel lost in a world of so many others because of the reminder that God knows us so intimately he can report the number of hairs on our head. 
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
      the moon and the stars you set in place—
 what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
      human beings that you should care for them?
Yet you made them only a little lower than God
      and crowned them with glory and honor.
 You gave them charge of everything you made,
      putting all things under their authority—
 the flocks and the herds
      and all the wild animals,
 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
      and everything that swims the ocean currents.   ~Psalm 8:3-8


Debbie said...

Great one, Jennie. Ephesians 2:10 just happens to be my very favorite verse in the entire Bible.

Beth Moore just happens to be my very favorite teacher besides Jesus.

I'll give you this little extra one for free. Just last week, we studied the concept of "distinction" in the Bible. The beautiful Hebrew word for "to make distinct, to distinguish between" is actually only used a few times in the OT, usually in the Exodus. One of the three times in the psalms is 139:14. It's translated "wonderfully" in your translation.

When God says he made us "wonderfully" there, He is saying that we are distinctively made. Maybe it's just me, but that rocks my socks more than "wonderfully".

Sharon said...

Jennie, I really loved this one. I had similar musings a while back, contemplating the fact that we are *specks of matter...that matter." It truly is a mind-boggling thought. And I don't think we think it often enough. To be loved by the Creator And Ruler Of ALL That There Is - that is simply glorious to me.

And to think that He loves each one of us uniquely, and completely - just like we were the only one who has ever existed! Numbering our hairs - won't He certainly also care about every feeling, or circumstance, or trial that we experience? Of course He will.

God's hands are huge - but they were small enough to be formed in a mother's womb. Small enough to reach our human hearts - big enough to carry us for a lifetime.


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