Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that God even sees us. At least it is for me, and I am certain I’m not alone in this. After all, we are so small and insignificant in comparison to the sovereign creator of the universe. Why would He pay any attention to us? Who am I to expect that God would bother with me?
Though it’s easy to lapse into that kind of thinking, Jesus tells us something different. In Matthew 10: 29-31 He says:
“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: 29-31
Psalm 139 also teaches us that God knows us more intimately than we know ourselves and that He is not stingy with His thoughts toward us.
“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand. And when I wake, You are still with me.” Psalm 139: 17-18
He sees us.
I was reminded of this recently in a simple but beautiful way, just when I needed to hear it most.
For most of April and May, I was admitted in the hospital. Even since I got home, recovery has remained an uphill battle. It has not been an easy time for my family or myself. There have been numerous procedures aimed at stabilizing a medically untreatable problem combined with discouraging news on numerous days. In the midst of negative circumstances, it is easy for me to question whether or not God sees and hears me. I’m only one of billions, after all.
Whatever our individual valleys look like in life, there is a common perspective. We are always trying to see our way out of something. Something that often feels much bigger than ourselves.
A whisper in my ear says “God can’t be bothered with you and all of the details of your life. You are like a grain of sand on a beach and He needs to attend to everyone.” But this is a lie. It’s hard to understand because it’s beyond our experience, but God is infinite. He knows our every coming and going. He sees each of us just as we are. Each and every single one of us is precious to him. He is able to attend to us as though we were an only child. His thoughts about each of us are as numerous as grains of sand on the seashore.
One morning about four weeks ago, I read the verses in Matthew (10: 29-31) that I already quoted earlier. About our value to God and the sparrows. How He sees and knows us closely enough that the hairs on our heads our counted.
That same night, my four-year-old was adamant that she had to find a specific book for me to read. After what seemed like ages of searching, she finally brought me the story of Thumbelina. It was a story I was unfamiliar with so I was actually quite excited to read something I hadn’t already read to her 100 times. In one part of the story, there is a sparrow being passed by in the cold winter, assumed by the other creatures to be frozen in the snow. Thumbelina however, took a much closer look and then nursed the sparrow back to health when she realized that it was still alive.
Two days later while driving back into the hospital for yet another treatment, we were driving down one of the rougher Streets in our city. I watched as one of the men on the sidewalk outside of a Salvation Army building interrupted traffic and stepped out into the street to pick something up. As he walked back to the sidewalk, I realized he was carrying a little bird. It was obviously dead but he took the time to handle it carefully, bring it off of the street, and make a little burial spot for it with some rocks. This little bird may not have been a sparrow but it didn’t go unnoticed, even on one of the roughest streets in town.
Just like Thumbelina and the man on the street, God sees you. He sees me. He sees each and every one of us. Distinctly. In the midst of our greatest joy and deepest pain. In the midst of our mess, our pride, and our shame. In the midst of our hurts, fears, failures, and triumphs. He doesn’t just see us. He gathers us up in his hands and takes care of us.
Part of me shies away from knowing that God sees me so clearly and so completely with all of my faults and failures, but the knowledge that he never loses sight of me carries an even greater comfort. He knows me better than I know myself and He never stops chasing me so He can lavish on me His perfect love.
We can all be assured that God sees every sparrow. Not one of these little birds goes unnoticed. How much more then, does He value us! The Creator of the universe knows exactly how many hairs are on your head and mine.
When we start to doubt whether God sees us, I pray that we remember the sparrow.