This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure statement for more details.
There are signs on the highway in Tennessee, digital ones showing the number of deaths from vehicular accidents in the current year and the past year. Around Thanksgiving weekend, the number was about 10 lower than in 2012. I guess we’re supposed to celebrate that fact? I’m never quite sure what the signs are proving or provoking.
It’s strange, seeing those signs everywhere, when you know the names of two of the number. A friend of a friend in Nashville was killed by a drunk driver early in 2013. And a few months ago, the daughter of a woman at our church had an accident and passed away. Her husband was on the phone with her and heard the whole thing.
It’s the peril of every statistic, every large number, I suppose. The numbers are meant to intimidate you, frighten you, make you think. But within those numbers are names. Souls. People.
We all know names that fit into numbers. I know Killed in Duty in Iraq, Succumbed to Ovarian Cancer, Died in a Car Wreck at 18, Life Cut Short By Meningitis, Born Too Early. There are hundreds of thousands of names under each category, but all the names are people who meant something to someone.
We can easily believe that God sees us grouped into categories, too. Here are the Not-So-Great Ones. The Ones Whom I Want to Punish. The Ones Whom I Really Like. The Extra-Super-Jesus-Lover Ones.
Humans love to categorize, to simplify. I noticed while playing a drawing-and-guessing game on Thanksgiving that words that started out complex – dog tired, forklift, fortune teller – because the simplest of ideas – house, truck, water. (Yes, fortune teller became water. Thanks to Uncle Phil’s phenomenal artistic ability.)
The Bible doesn’t categorize like we want it to, though. Instead it says that we all fall short of the glory of God. We all, like sheep, have gone astray. And that no matter who you are, God can banish your sins as far as the east is from the west. There is no sin that is worse than another. They are all blackness before God, and they all need redeemed.
When God sought Hagar out as she fled from her mistress, Sarah, Hagar was astonished. She wasn’t from Abraham’s line; she was a slave girl from Egypt whom Sarah hated. Hagar called Him “The God Who Sees Me.”
He knows each name in each category. He doesn’t see divisions. He sees you.