The other day I asked my kids if they knew how many hairs they had on their heads. They answered with typical 4-year old answers, "A lot! Is it 50 mama? Or maybe even 100?!"
One of my daughters looked at me timidly to gauge if she had answered right. While I'm old enough to know that they definitely have more than 50 hairs, I still had to answer truthfully, "I don't know, baby." Even as their mama, as someone who loves them more than anything in the world, I don't know the answer to that question.
But I know someone who does.
I know my kids in so many ways. I know what their cries sound like when they're sick or sad. I know how they go from silly to monster tantrums in 5 minutes flat when they're tired. I know them better than anyone else in the world knows them, and yet, there's still so much I don't know.
I don't know what tomorrow holds. I don't know where they'll go to school. I don't know if or who they'll marry. I don't know who they'll turn out to be, or what their first thoughts were this morning. I don't know their deepest fears- the ones they want to hide even from themselves. ‚Ä®
But I know someone who does.
Interestingly, when God talks about this idea in Scripture, he does so in a conversation about anxiety:
So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known...And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.Matthew 10:26-31
Isn't that fascinating? God doesn't talk about our hair count as some kind of fun party trick or impressive trivia. He doesn't make the disciples play the "high-low" game, guessing one by one how many hairs they each have. Instead he tells them this in the midst of a conversation about death, describing their futures and how they will be delivered over by brothers and fathers and children (10:21). While describing some pretty scary days ahead, Jesus reminds them of the One who is greater than their fears. It's meant to inspire awe and give comfort to our anxious hearts!
So often when I get anxious, I can veer on two extremes. I can try to ignore my fears, pretending like they're not even there OR I can feel empowered, scoffing at them and trying to conquer them on my own. Jesus presents a third way: fear God more.
As a mama, I know there are some scary things out there- things I cannot control. Instead of ignoring these fears or being paralyzed by them, I too can choose the better way, the way of surrender and trust. I can humble myself before him, casting all of my anxieties on him, because he cares for me (1 Peter 5:6-7). When life feels out of control or when I'm unsure of tomorrow, I need only read these verses to remember this simple fact: He is in control. When my mind spirals in the unknowns or worst-case possibilities of tomorrow, I can remember: He will be there. The One who knows how many hairs my daughters have is the same God who made them, loves them and cares for them.
So why then does God tell us that he knows how many hairs are on our heads? And why did I ask my kids the same question? To remind ourselves of these truths and move us to trust Him more. I do not know what the future holds for my kids, but as a mama, my heart's desire is to point my kids to the only One who does.
His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.Psalm 147:10-11