by Raeleen Whip
It seems a bit ironic that a God’s girl who has never been a bosom friend with figures finds herself writing about mathematical concepts.
Well God has blessed certain wunderkinds in our world with a talent for making figures dance, people like my husband for example who has been a maths whiz since he was young. He knows how to make numbers bend to his will with ease and more foreign to my mind, enjoyment even. Whereas for me, it’s like going into the boxing ring with a powerful, slobbering, pawing number 47 and getting knocked out with all haste and decisiveness before the first-round bell sounds.
God, on the other hand, is an extraordinary mathematician. In fact, He apparently loves counting and recounting ad infinitum it would seem, and He is quite partial to a little mathematical comprehension exercise every now and then. Consider…
"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And yet, not one of them is forgotten or uncared for in the presence of God. Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be struck with fear or seized with alarm; you are worth much more than many sparrows." Luke 12: 6, 7
Let’s first contemplate the counting of my hair scenario. On the face of it, counting and recounting my hair strands, seems like a crazy waste of time. I mean if God knows how many hairs are on my head at any given moment, then we are talking about a continuous 24/7 counting and recounting exercise to keep a never-ending track of what strands are still currently attached and which ones have migrated to the hairbrush or pillow or have swished down the plughole or are now stuck fast onto my clothes or have floated at random to the ground. Does this not seem like the ultimate, tortuous exercise of futility and endless inconsequence to you or just maybe… there is good reason for this apparent madness. Does this persistent tracking of our manes not simply demonstrate a crazy, devoted love and testify to our immense worth to Him.
Though not usually a numbers fan, I love maths that tells me how much He values and loves me, enough to notice, know and keep a close record of the finest, seemingly frivolous detail about me. He wants me to know He does this because, He wants me to understand that His maths says “Courage child, I see you, and I notice you, you are worth so much to me. I am with you. I love what I value, and I love you constantly and not one inconsequential jot about you is meaningless to Me at any moment of your life”.
Close your eyes and let that sink in.
Then let’s talk sparrows for a bit. The word penny in this verse, likely refers to a coin called an assarion. Apparently, two of these are the same monetary value as one aussie cent. (For those who can remember when that was a real thing). So, according to my phone calculator, for all you figure dancers out there, five sparrows divided into 1 cent is 0.2 of a cent. That would place a sparrow squarely in the ‘Really Not that Valuable’ category in the grand scheme of things. Maths aside, we don’t need a monetary value on the plain feathered forgettables to agree that you ain’t likely gonna make a living off sparrow farming. They are just not that valuable, noticed or desired even by most and yet…
Out of the fafillion sparrows that are currently cohabiting the globe with us, not one, not one, NOT ONE is forgotten or uncared for by God himself. He doesn’t relegate this important task of hair counting and sparrow caring to minions in the record keeping department in the basement of heaven. On the contrary, these matters are forefront in the mind of the Creator King of the universe.
So, if In the very beating heart of the heaven, the King keeps a track of our inconsequential and vacillating hair numbers and the irrelevant, 0.2 of a cent sparrow an algebraic type question arises. How much are we, as whole people created by this loving God of value to Him? Well for those who are terrified into mind paralysis by maths equations, good news. God poses the question and kindly supplies an answer of sorts.
How much worth am I to Him? “Much more than many flocks of sparrows” He says. Notice the answer to the ‘How much” question is not set figure; God just enigmatically states the answer is ‘many’. Has God lost His mathematical problem-solving ability in this instance? Could He not do the algebra and arrive at a proper value figure?
I wonder if He didn’t put a neat figure cap on it because we would then be able to discount it in those moments of self-recrimination. We recognize ourselves to be hopeless, empty, guilty and wanting and declare “well, I am sure that my sin, my doubts, my fears, my guilt, my ‘whatever that holds me captive’ from His love, plan and purpose feels bigger than that figure”. His number just isn’t big enough. It leaves plenty of room for defeating self-judgment and sentencing. “His love and value figure will never be enough to cover who I am and what I have done”.
We have probably all had those doubts that the enemy whispers with all malignant logic “it just isn’t possible to sit in a position of continual endless worth and value to Him, take a good long hard look inside yourself and see if there is much to love??”. In these testing moments, we ask with despair how much will it take to love and value me when I believe myself unlovable and so unworthy at times. How much can He care for a girl so full of fear at times that courage fails, and I am stopped in my tracks, my faith withers, and my trust in His promises and character are compromised. Apparently… much more than many flocks.
I love that the answer about my worth to Him is an unspecified, open ended much more than many flocks of sparrows. Many flocks could be a million, a billion, a fafillion even, it could be infinity, and we, says He, are much more than many of those. As many flocks as it takes to cover anything flawed in you.
Our freedom from all that imprisons us, paralyses us, makes us small, or encourages rebelliousness and recklessness was covered by His “much more than many flocks” love and value of us, when He took all of that on Himself on the cross and let it kill Him instead of us. If we understand and take hold of His gift of “much more than many flocks” love and value of us, we can grasp His proffered complete forgiveness, cleansing, the exchange of our sin for His righteousness, future of hope, presence with us now and forever. “Much more than many flocks” covers anything and everything you are this moment and any moment to come and crushes your doubts and fears.
So courage dear heart, know without doubt that you need not be afraid to be and do anything and everything He asks of you. When fear and doubts roar at you, turn boldly to face them and say with all assurance from the King Himself., “Jesus is more than you, Jesus is more in me, this moment, I am in the presence of the King where I am seen, I am known, I am noticed, I am loved, I am valued, I am of infinite worth, I am cared for.”
How much worth are you to Him? Check your hairbrush, contemplate a sparrow and understand His love and care for you, your value to Him is always simply an open ended, ‘much more than many’.
Raeleen is a country gal, living in Longreach. She does life with a husband who loves God and perseveres in all things, two soft-souled sons, a most gracious and lovely daughter in law, two hilarious grandchildren, a wonderful church family and community. She loves creativity in most forms, but has a special bent towards photography, pottery, writing short stories and blending photos, fonts and bible verses. What I find myself wanting to do, is to persuade people to shift out of dark places in mind or soul into the light of God's truth and the love of His people where there can be found one of my favourite God words... Freedom... God has invited me to be a part of the leadership and women's ministry team at my local Baptist Church in Longreach.