Does he know that my cholesterol edged above 200 for the first time? Does he know that I’m worried about a son in high school, who, while he has a history of good judgment, faces new temptations and peer pressure every day? Does he know how I feel when I compare the rate of growth of said son’s college account to the rate of growth of college tuition?
Is he aware when I’m sick? Does he know that I love him and that I hate it when I don’t act like it? Does he know the horrible things I think, even when I try not to? Does he know my shame when I hear a sermon podcast on how a godly husband is to treat his wife? Does he hear my prayers distinctly above the background noise? Does he know my fears and disappointments?
I believe that God so loved the world. But does God so love me?
Yes. Oh yes. Seven billion times, yes. God makes it quite clear that he knows me, and you, on an individual basis, and that he cares with perfect earnestness about the smallest details of our lives:
- We were created with purpose, according to his specific design, as distinct from every person who ever lived. (Psalm 139:1-4, 13-16)
- God searches our hearts and knows our minds. (Rom. 8:27) He is aware of every deed and thought, and every motive behind them. (1 Chron. 28:9)
- Jesus, who “explains” God (John 1:18), says we should think of God as a Father. (Matt. 6:9) What father does not know his children?
- He knows what we need, even before we are aware of what we need. (Matt. 6:8)
- He knows many hairs are on your head (or, for some of us, how few). (John 10:30)
- No one will ever snatch you out of the shepherd’s hand. (John 10:28) If you stray, he will leave even 99 to go out looking for you. (Luke 15:3-7) He loves his sheep so much, he lays down his life for us. (John 10:15) He loves us to death.
- Jesus prays for you. (Luke 22:31) He prayed in the garden for all believers as a group, yes, that we would have unity, that we would abide in him and he in us, that we would be with him always. (John 17:20-26) But he prays for us individually, too, interceding for you, by name, at the right hand of the father. (Heb. 7:25)
Don’t ever think that God has forgotten you, that he doesn’t know you, that he doesn’t love you, or that he doesn’t care about you and your problems, in a distinct, specific, individual way. He created each of those 7 billion, and he is big enough to know them each by name.
The Lord is the Good Shepherd, and the Lord is your shepherd.
God loves the world, and God loves you.
He loves you to death.
Photo: Reproduction of Flock of Sheep in the Gale, Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky.