"What is man that Thou are mindful of him?" Psalm 8:4
Life sometimes is a grind, a meaningless grind. The chirpy writer of Ecclesiastes put it this way "Nothing is new. Everything is empty. All things are full of weariness."
While not uplifting, these thoughts do have a ring of truth. They reflect the way many people feel on a Sunday afternoon as they get ready for another week of work. Another. Week. Of. Work. And it's going to be hot down here in south Louisiana, again. And people are just as surprised by the heat this year as they were this time last year.
These morbid reflections crystallized into a single word for me this afternoon: "homogeneous." People don't feel divinely unique. They feel as if they are simply part of the mass, part of the matrix, little more than a dot in the Petri dish. The world can make us feel pretty small and overlooked.
David, the battle king with the soul of a poet, would have understood. Out under the stars one evening he felt pretty small. This man who had so many significant spiritual experiences that his story is peppered throughout the Bible, began to wonder if God could possibly know him.
He didn't take long to come up with the answer. God created him, and all people, only a little lower than heavenly beings, and crowned each one of us with glory and honor. Friends, we're at the pinnacle of creation! That eternal reality is far stronger than the previous morbid reflections.
How to convey these impressions to you? What would God say precisely? I thought about the scripture and all the ways God has tried to impress upon us that we, each one of us, is divinely unique. I think the following words represent fairly what God would say to anyone who feels homogenous:
"I know your face. I know your name. I know your past, your present, your future, your eternity. I know everything about you. And I love you. You are important to me. The moment you turn your attention to Me and let me quiet the clamor of your mind, you will hear My whispers. I am present with you always. I Am."
William Osler (d. 1919) was a brilliant Canadian physician, and a founder of Johns Hopkins. He combined a keen mind with a deeply compassionate heart. One day he visited the pediatric ward of a London hospital and watched with delight as a group of children played together at the far side of one room. Then he noticed another small girl, sitting alone on her bed, a doll clutched in her arms. She seemed intensely lonely.
He asked a nurse about the little girl, and she explained that the other children ostracized her. Her mother had died. The father had paid only one visit to her, bringing the doll she now held tightly. Other than that no one had come to visit her. The other children concluded she was unimportant, and, as children can sometimes be quite mean, treated her with disdain.
Osler walked over to her bed. "May I sit down, please?" he asked in a voice loud enough to carry to where the other children were at play. "I can't stay long on this visit," he explained, "but I have wanted to see you so badly."
The little girl brightened. The other children began to notice. For several minutes the physician talked with her, now in quiet, almost secretive tones. He asked about her doll, placed the stethoscope on the dolls chest and appeared to be listening intently. After several moments of making this little girl the center of attention he rose to leave, and raising his voice so the other children could hear he said, "now you won't forget our secret will you? And mind you don't tell anyone." As he left the other children now gathered around the little girl. By this kind physician's attention she had been made to feel special and important.
God wants you to feel special and important, not in a maudlin, self-centered, entitled way. He wants you to know that part of His grace is the remarkable ability to focus on you individually as if you were the only person on earth.
This does not make necessarily make your work easier tomorrow. It won't make traffic smoother. It certainly won't make the days cooler. But I think it does help to know you are important to God, and you are never alone.
Dr. Terry Ellis
August 23, 2015