Read Psalm 139:1-3
1 O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do. (NLT)
Christians believe God loves the world, that Jesus came to save lost humanity from its estrangement from its creator. And yet this can become a rather abstract doctrine. We might not take seriously the fact that God loves each and every individual in his or her uniqueness.
Some social activists seem to have a love of humankind in general but don’t have a lot of time for individuals. It can be sadly true that some church leaders love the gospel and love the church in conceptual terms but don’t always translate that into love for distinct individuals.
Our God is not concerned with humanity as a concept: he is concerned with individuals. And as our text reminds us, he has intimate knowledge of each individual. He knows my failings and successes. He knows my weaknesses and strengths. He knows my temperament, my abilities, my limitations. Others might misunderstand me or dismiss me, but God never does.
God did not send Jesus to save humanity in the abstract: he sent Jesus to save unique individuals like you and me. Individuals whom he created and whom he understands entirely. None of us is a pawn in some divine cosmic game. None of us is merely an instrument in God’s purposes. We are not simply pieces on God’s chessboard to be moved around to suit his plans, though we do play a part in his plans.
If I believe God loves the world, I also must believe he loves individuals like me who constitute that world. And I also must believe that the one who loves me as I am is the only one who understands just who I am.