In the Dr. Seuss story, Horton Hears A Who, an elephant named Horton finds a speck of dust on which he imagines a tiny person lives. Horton later discovers the speck to be a tiny planet with a tiny village called Whoville where microscopic creatures called Whos live. The mayor of Whoville cries out to Horton and asks him to protect Whoville. Horton vows to protect and puts the speck on a clover. In his effort to keep his vow of protection, Horton carries the clover wherever he goes knocking Whoville and all of the Whos about all over the place as he stumbles clumsily along his way.
Have you ever felt as if your world was shaking under your feet and crumbling all around you? Have you ever felt like your cries for help were being screamed into an empty vacuum? Have you ever felt as small as a Who from Whoville? Life may seem crazy and hopeless sometimes, but the truth is you are not insignificant. You are more than a Who from Whoville. And your life comes down to more than being haphazardly discovered by a random source and then being carried along on a clover by a clumsy elephant. You are not an insignificant miniscule speck of nothingness. Your existence matters much more than that.
The book of Genesis explains how God spoke His creation into existence. He said let there be light, and there was light. He said let there be water, and there was water. He said let there be fish in the sea, and there were fish in the sea. God spoke and birds appeared. Over the course of five days, God spoke His creation into existence. But, then, on the sixth day, God created man in His image. He reached down from Heaven, took dust from the earth, formed man, and then breathed life into him. Genensis 1:27 says, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them," (ESV). Genesis 2:7 says, "Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature," (ESV). God was intentional about all of His creation, so we people matter a great deal to God.
I like to open up the Google Earth app on my iPhone and "travel" around the world. When I open the app the earth is depicted as a blue and white sphere suspended in the black universe. I'll spin the earth until I find where I want to go then zoom in and look around. Though "traveling" this way is not near as exciting as the real thing, it still fascinates me.
When doing this I also like to find where I live and zoom in close. I can see the street in front of my house, my backyard, the car in the driveway, my neighborhood. I can maneuver through the streets and zoom out a little to get an overview of my community. I'll zoom in close to my house then zoom out into space then zoom in close again. One of the reasons I do this is because it gives me perspective. When my life seems out of my control and I get overwhelmed this activity gives me a glimpse of the way God sees me and my world.
Though to me the world is a really big place, God doesn't see it as being so big. Isaiah 40:12 says, "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?" (ESV). In Isaiah 66:1 God said, "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool...," (ESV). God holds the world in His hands and uses it as His footstool. Whatever chaos is happening, it takes only a flick of God's finger, the swipe of His hand, or the power of His voice to change everything.
God is big. He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent—He is all powerful, all knowing, and always everywhere. Everything else is nothing when compared to God's vastness. Therefore, we feel miniscule and insignificant because we are. But in spite of how big God is and how small we are, He knows who we are and where we are. He knows every detail about us. Jesus said in Luke 12:6-7, "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows," (ESV).
When we read the Bible from start to finish we see the display of God's metanarrative, His overarching purpose, and we realize God's plan is bigger than us. Even so, His word also reveals how each of us, individually, are part of His purpose. We recognize He created each of us on purpose for His purpose. The stories about Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Esther, Ruth, the prophets, Daniel, and so on all show us man's place in God's purpose.
Amazingly, our own stories reveal the same. When we stop long enough to consider our lives we will recognize God's presence has been interwoven throughout. We may not always notice it, but God reaches into our world every day and makes the difference in the midst of our chaos. He zooms in close and gently speaks peace to us. Both the stories of those from biblical history as well as our own stories are evidence that people matter to God. We are not insignificant nor miniscule to Him at all.
Psalm 139:13 says, "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb," (ESV). II Chronicles 16:9 says, "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him...," (ESV). Jesus said in Luke 12:27-28, "Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!" (ESV). Each of us, individually, matter to God.
God does have a metanarrative. He does have an overarching purpose. His purpose is to draw all men to Him—all of humanity as a whole as well as each human individually. We are His metanarrative. We are His overarching purpose. So while He maneuvers the universe to fit His purpose, He also reaches out to us and pulls us in to Him to fit His purpose. We are the big picture—you, me, and every individual.
It is God's purpose that we are drawn to Him and that we point others to Him. Today, I am practicing what I preach. I am speaking life to you. I am sharing His good news. And I am able to tell you about Him because I have experienced Him personally. My story is evidence of His good news. I know you have purpose because He has shown me my purpose. I know He sees you in your world because He shows up in mine every day.
If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed today, I hope what I have offered speaks peace to your life. If you don't already know it, you need to know you matter and your life is important. You are significant. He created you on purpose for His purpose. If you'll seek Him, you'll see, you'll find Him. He's as close as the mention of His name—Jesus. Psalm 145:18 says, "The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth," (ESV).
I've bought in to Horton's motto: "After all, a person is a person, no matter how small." But you're not important to just other people; you are important to God. That's what matters most. You are more than a Who!
*Disclaimer: I love Dr. Seuss, and I love the story Horton Hears A Who. It's actually one of my favorites by Dr. Seuss. I also believe in Horton's motto, "After all, a person is a person, no matter how small." I referenced this story because of the feelings of insignificance it initially speaks to. I think my point is obvious, but I feel the need to clarify just in case it's not obvious. I think we are even more significant than what the story portrays us to be. To keep this blog from being misunderstood, I felt a better title than "You Are Not A Who" was needed, so I have changed it to "Your Are More Than A Who." No one has said anything to me about this. I came to the decison to make these edits and repost after rereading this blog several times.