How Can God Care for One?
If there are over 7 billion people living on the planet at this very moment, how can God care about me, just one single person?
Big numbers are overwhelming. We’re not made to comprehend big numbers.
Until recently, most languages didn’t even have numbers past 1-2-3-4-5. Anything more than five was “a lot,” according to Chip Heath in his new book Making Numbers Count.
But when we bring numbers down to a manageable perspective, we can grasp them.
And see how valuable they are.
I looked up how many nerve cells we have in our brain. Current estimates are over 85 billion. It would take you and 11 other people on Earth to represent one single nerve cell in your brain. And another 11 people for the next cell, on and on.
Yet, doesn’t every nerve cell count? If you stub your toe, you feel it. If an eyelash lands in your eye, you’re aware of it. And if you’ve ever had a toothache in just one tiny tooth, you know the importance of every nerve cell.
So if we can understand how each cell counts, how much more does God care about each human being made in God’s very own beautiful image?
I still can’t fathom caring about 7 billion people, but I can understand caring about the pinch of a needle to draw blood from my arm, or the sweet feel of a baby’s fat cheek with my fingertips.
Large or small, numbers can still be boiled down to one at a time.
I’m thankful my one matters to God.
Making Numbers Count
If you want to read more about how to see numbers from a human perspective, I highly recommend Chip Heath’s book, Making Numbers Count. (I’ll read any book he writes.)
Here’s a taste of how he makes numbers count by putting them in terms we understand.
Instead of the dry statistic that a single M&M has 4 calories, or a single Pringle has 10 calories, think of it like this:
“In order to burn off the calories in a single M&M, you’d have to walk 2 flights of stairs. In order to burn off the calories in a single Pringle, you’d have to walk 176 yards, or almost 2 football fields.”
Or if you want to understand the difference between a millionaire and a billionaire, put it in a time framework:
“If a million seconds is twelve days, a billion seconds is thirty-two years.”
Making Numbers Count is full of ideas and examples of how we use numbers to make meaning in our lives.
For me, I’m using numbers today to remind me how valuable we each are to God, regardless of how many numbers of us there are.
Do you think of yourself as a numbers person? (I used to be an accountant, so I count myself in the loving-numbers crowd.) What helps you realize your worth to God? Share in the comments.
My thanks to NetGalley + Avid Reader Press
for the review copy of Making Numbers Count
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