Is your voice weak and frail, or barely there? God sees you. He knows you… He will come and sit with you, tuck you in close to his presence and join his voice with yours so that you may be heard.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care…. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10: 29-31)
Do you ever feel that you are not worth bothering with? Do you have faith for others, but not yourself? Perhaps you feel as if God would save, heal and forgive anyone else but you? If so, you are not alone. Many people, Christians included, silently struggle with feelings of insignificance. Some feel that they are simply not enough. Others feel unworthy of God’s grace and forgiveness, while others simply feel unimportant, arguing that they are just one person on a planet of billions, so how then can God see them or care about them?
For several years, I was the spiritual care coordinator in a senior’s home. It was my job to provide devotional programs and spiritual encouragement for the residents, many of whom had dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. On the dementia floor we used singalong hymns for worship, along with simple Bible verses. Many of the group would often sleep through our time of worship, much to the amusement of some of the younger, less experienced staff members, who would ask why I ‘wasted’ my time continuing with the program when only a few residents were awake.
They asked this question one particular morning when just one resident, Joan, was awake and participating. Joan was 97 years old and spent her days in a wheelchair, often sleeping or gazing out of the window watching the world go by. She barely spoke, her voice worn and hoarse with age. She rarely had visitors, her family mostly gone or far away. On this morning, she sat next to me, tucked under a blanket in her wheelchair, as I held a songbook for her (which was perhaps more for me, as she could not actually see well enough to read the words!), and we sang along with favourite old hymns. To my amazement Joan, in her husky, frail voice, whispered every single word of every hymn alongside my singing for over 40 minutes. She did not need the words, she could not see them, but knew them by heart and ‘sang’ her way through every song, unheard by passing staff, unnoticed by anyone other than me and her Lord. It was one of the most memorable moments of my time there. This dear lady, a source of amusement to some, unseen, unnoticed and unable to do anything to help herself, offering her worship to her Lord. Her body may have been weak, but her spirit sang. I believe that the whole company of heaven sang with her that morning as her act of worship blessed and glorified her Lord.
To answer the question as to why I continued with the program with so few attendees, I did so because it was the residents’ opportunity for worship. I did so because I believe God’s Spirit came to rest upon them through the music, whether awake or asleep. I believe that the familiar words of favourite old hymns stirred and nourished their souls. I believe that the words of Scripture ministered truth to their hearts. Most of all, I continued because I know that God values even one. One single soul, one single person, is worth everything to God.
Do you feel alone? Do you feel like one in a crowd, overlooked and unseen with nothing to offer? Is your voice weak and frail, or barely there? God sees you. He knows you. He loves you. He is with you. He sees your incredible worth. He will come and sit with you, tuck you in close to his presence and join his voice with yours so that you may be heard. So that you may worship. So that with him, your soul will awaken and sing again just like Joan. Though you may feel like only one insignificant person, God and the whole company of heaven are cheering for you in heaven’s stands! There is joy in the presence of God’s angels, not only when a sinner repents, but when one sinner worships, prays and praises God!
Like Joan, our worth does not depend on anything we can do. Joan could do nothing to help herself, not even dress or feed herself. We have worth in God’s sight not because of anything we can do or will do, but because we are his creation, his children, made in his image, and because of His son Jesus Christ, who came to die in our place. The Message Bible puts it like this: “We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.” (Romans 5: 6-8) I love that! “…of no use whatever to him”! Stuck in our helplessness and sinfulness, God saw that we were incapable of helping ourselves and sent Jesus to redeem us. You are worth everything to God because he paid a very high price for you!
Jesus told several stories to show how much every single person matters to God. In Luke 15 after he had been criticized for associating with “sinners”, he told the story of a man leaving ninety-nine sheep to go and find just one who was lost. Then he told the story of a woman who searched her whole home for one lost coin, and the story of a father who threw a party for his son who had returned home after leaving and squandering his entire inheritance. One sheep. One coin. One son. All of which had insurmountable, indescribable, irreplaceable worth. Jesus said that even the smallest of creatures such as tiny sparrows are significant to God. In Bible times, sparrows were not considered to be of much value, yet Jesus declared that not even one falls to the ground without God’s care and attention (Matthew 10:29-31)
To God, it was, is, and always will be worth it for one. One sheep, one coin, one son, one sparrow. One senior, one sinner, one YOU. If you doubt that, consider how it was equally worth it for just two! In the garden of Eden after Adam and Eve disobeyed God, he promised a deliverer. (Genesis 3:15) As far as we know, they were the only two people on earth at the time. You may have heard it said that even if you were the only person on earth, Jesus would have come and died for you. I believe that is true!
There is hope for your life. The God who gave his Son in return for you thinks you matter. You are worth it. You are worth HIM. You are more than enough! Even if you have committed the worst sins, God loves you. You are pardoned, sinless, and worth so much more than you know! You are precious and loved by God regardless of your situation or your social standing. Soak yourself in the following verses which speak the truth about who you are.
“For we (you!) are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (italics mine)
“You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.” 1 Corinthians 6:-19-20
“So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” Matthew 10:31
“Since you are precious and honoured in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.” Isaiah 43:4
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” Isaiah 49:15
“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
PRAYER: Thank you Lord that I am enough. That I am worth everything to you. Thank you that my worth does not depend on anything I can do but on your grace. Help me to understand this amazing truth and to see myself as you see me. When I feel weak or useless, I invite you to join your voice with mine and encourage me to sing your praise once more in the knowledge that I belong to you and I am loved, forgiven and valuable! Thank you Lord. Amen.
Working with Joan gave me inspiration to write a poem called “For the Senior” which you can find on the Poetry page.