I can’t speak for anyone else, but these last few months, my relationship with the Lord has been rocky, to say the absolute least about it. This rockiness was entirely rooted in a consistent anxiousness and a near reliance on that anxiousness to assure me that I have some kind of control. Anxiety is an attempt to control a situation simply by feeling a certain way, and boy did I try to control the situations both around me and globally by not feeling to great at all. It’s been funny, too, because there is this not-so-subtle way anxiety takes a hold of our relationship with God, that is bringing it to as much of a stalled halt as possible because “I have other things I need to worry about!” It’s also funny because the only One Who has any capacity for helping each of us actually move toward health and cope with anxiety is the One Who gets pushed away the most in situations of overwhelming panic and lack of control. Much like what I wrote about Fear a few days ago, anxiousness does whatever it can to convince us that God can’t really be doing the most or the best or be the most Good.
One of my favorite passages of all time is found in Luke 12: “What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them.” (v.6) Now, the cultural significance of this verse is critical to unpack in order to more fully grasp the implications behind it. At the time of this verse being written, it was common practice for sellers to charge 1 coin for a pair of birds. When someone would buy four birds, a fifth one would often be thrown in for free. A worthless bird, at no extra charge, not sold in a pair or even valued at half a coin. When the Gospel author writes that “God does not forget a single one of them,” he is specifically pointing out how God is not forgetting the one everyone else has already forgotten. This verse isn’t just saying everyone is seen, but those who are so maliciously tossed to the side by the world are the apple of the Father’s eye, and in Eternity’s timeline, this is the most significant eye to matter in.
As my anxiousness over the last few months has fluctuated in its severity, as my difficulty to engage in Scripture and in prayer has done the same, I have returned to the potency of Goodness that is contained within this verse. Not a single one forgotten. It doesn’t say “not a single one of them who read their Bible for 20 minutes a day was forgotten” or “not a single one of them who spent time in prayer every night was forgotten” or “not a single one of them who wasn’t easily distracted by worry was forgotten.” No, it is written that God does not forget a single one of them, and then the next verse reads, “And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” (Luke 12:7) He is so attentive to the lowest, least valued of creatures, and if so attentive to these little birds, how much value do we carry as one with the value of many of these sparrows? How much emphasis does God place on His love for us as we wander and worry?
Where our anxiousness seems to consume us, so God still pursues us endlessly. He grieves with us, sings over us, and waits with open arms for us to come running. His voice does not cease to speak when our mind is filled with everything that could go wrong or take a terrible turn. It is in those times when we feel we have reached the end of our rope, all alone, and deaf to everything but doubt, that we may pause for a moment to hear the Voice behind us telling us which way we should walk. And if we cannot hear Him, may He take us by the shoulders and direct us with His Presence when the world is too loud and our minds too filled with uncertainty. He is a faithful God Who does not leave His children to wander alone but pursues the 1 while the 99 lay in wait for the King to come Home with the prodigal.