i mean, arent im just one in billions and arent im like a employee or worker of God just to be replaced by just another one in the crowd, i mean if u think about it i (or anyone) dont matter if i was not born in my parents house, there would have been someone else, if i will not be the husband of my future wife it would have been someone else, if i will not be lets say a football (or soccer for my american friends) champ and loved by millions of them, there would have been someone else, arent im just a waste of matter to be put in hell and if not how do i know if i am special, because God told me so? how do i know thats true? just because He is God?
That’s one way of thinking about it. However, that isn’t the perspective that I believe we are taught as believers to have in regards to our existence. And yes, the short answer is we know that we are special as individuals because God tells us so in His word.
I look at my existence and the existence of everyone else around me through the lens of God’s sovereign plan and Psalm 139 also informs my thinking on the value of each life that comes into existence.
You have searched me, Lord,
_ and you know me._
You know when I sit and when I rise;
_ you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
_ you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
_ you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
_ and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
_ too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
_ Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
_ if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
_ if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
_ your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
_ and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
_ the night will shine like the day,
_ for darkness is as light to you._
For you created my inmost being;
_ you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
_ your works are wonderful,
_ I know that full well._
My frame was not hidden from you
_ when I was made in the secret place,
_ when I was woven together in the depths of the earth._
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
_ all the days ordained for me were written in your book
_ before one of them came to be._
How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
_ How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
_ they would outnumber the grains of sand—
_ when I awake, I am still with you._
God has created this intricate web of life that causes one person’s life to be impacted by the actions of another far far off. For example, Ravi Zacharias’ parents had no idea they were giving birth to someone who would become the Ravi Zacharias who formed RZIM, would teach thousands of people across the globe, who would take Christian apologetics to new heights and help people to think critically about their beliefs and the life they live. The man who provided him with a copy of the Book of John wasn’t even from his area. This man traveled across the globe and ‘ended up’ giving that book to him and then Ravi’s ma read the gospel to him, and Ravi was saved because of this long standing string of ‘chance encounters’.
We consider them chance encounters, but to our God, who has determined the end and the means these aren’t chance encounters at all. And with that in mind, each life has a purpose and an inherent value; a specialness that can only be fulfilled by that life - there is no other you but you. There is no other person in the world who will bring all that you bring to the table - good, bad, ugly, and indifferent because your life circumstances down to the minutest detail is uniquely yours, and God has a purpose for that.
In our myopic view, we only see small parts and it’s easy to fall into thinking, “If it’s not me it will be someone else.” But the reality is, we don’t know that at all. We don’t know what would have happened if we didn’t exist, all that can be ascertained is that somehow, the world as we know it would be different in some way.
Because God said so, and because He is God - at some point many of us come to understand that that is the most reliable source of validation there is.
All of the things you mentioned are roles - father, coach, worker, son, daughter… Ancient cultures defined your worth by how well you fulfilled your role. Modern culture defines your worth by your ability to write your own story - to discover yourself. God does neither.
As the old preacher saying goes: You are a human being; not a human doing. It is not what we do that gives us worth, but who we are in Christ.
The Gospel is a story about how God saved us - people who deserve nothing - because He loved us so immensely. He made us in His image. It is God’s image on us and His love for us that gives us value. Not our role. Not our fame, wealth or power. Not our health.
We are special not because we are unique in contrast to other people or because we are irreplaceable in human society. We are special because of God’s amazing love for us and His image on us.
The answer to your question is the Gospel - we are unworthy of God’s love and yet, in spite of our unworthiness, He has loved us with an everlasting love. He has named us. He has lifted up our chin and looked us in the eyes and spoken belonging, hope, peace - meaning. Jesus does for us what nothing else can - He gives us eternal life, eternal love, eternal joy, eternal meaning - in God.
“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” Tim Keller
“The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.” Tim Keller
“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.” C. S. Lewis
@HeroGuy, it’s interesting. I spent a good bit of my life believing that God was nothing more than my boss. I mean, He’s God, so I worship Him and take Him at His word. But in my relationship to Him, I treated Him like he was my boss…like all He wanted me to do was get on with the task He’d given me and stop bothering Him with the messes I’d create. And then a couple of years ago, it clicked. I’m not His employee; I’m His child! Of course, I’m not His only adopted child, but there is only one of ME. Ever. I am a product of these two people, in this particular place, at this particular time, etc. There will never be another. So, in that respect, I am unique…special. And so are you.
Though, I’m curious if your deeper question is: do I matter? Am I significant? And how to I know?
@HeroGuy I have to disagree with you. Isaiah 46:10 says, “I distinguish the end from the beginning, and ancient times from what is still to come, saying: ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” There is no one who can take your place. It was Gods will for you to be born to your parents, married your wife, and do all the things that you do.
God knows you and has a plan for your life. There is no plan b because He already knows what you will do tomorrow and the next day. He knows how it will affect others and how it will change you. It was you that He went to the cross for, and has no regrets for doing so because you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
So yes, you are very special.
Gotcha. I would say that in the Christian story, each individual is not only special, but also significant. Maybe not significant in the way that makes people write books about you, but, in the grand scheme of things, significant to God. I was reflecting over your question earlier today, (How can I know that I’m significant…that I matter?) and I was brought back each time to Jesus. Think of how many times He stopped in the midst of the noise to focus on individuals. Not necessarily prominent individuals, but ordinary people… Jews, Samaritans, Romans, the sick, the lame, the blind…women and children - the individual care and attention He showed them was astounding. And it wasn’t just so that He would gain followers; it was because He was full to the brim and overflowing with deep, Trinitarian love for His creation. It wasn’t just so that He could display His power (He could have done that without compassion.), it was so that people could know the transforming power of love…His love for us. His collective love yes, but also individual love and concern. Jesus came to open the way back to the Father so that we can have individual, personal relationships as well as communal relationship with Him. It’s so astounding. ‘Who is man that you are mindful of him?’ asks the Psalmist (8:4). I ask that of Him every day! Who am I? I am his adopted child, according to the apostle Paul (see Romans 8-9, Galatians 4, Ephesians 1). I am no longer a slave, but a child! My mind is continually blown away by that.
What in your own life makes you ask that question?
thanks for replying and well i have explained it the way i see this in my original question