“Take it. It’s not worth much.” We may not verbalize those words about ourselves, but we will internalize them. When our world goes into a tailspin, we forget to apply the spiritual training we learned in peacetime. A cliché may define the collective experience, but when it matters behind closed doors, do we truly value the sum of our individual parts? Our past formed us, but it does not encase us in a twisted mold doomed to a life of disappointments, failures and hopelessness.
Cliché and slogan aside. Your life matters. Period.
In singleness, you matter.
In motherhood, you matter.
In the throes of verbal abuse, you matter.
In trying to raise a family on your own, you matter.
In sharing your living quarters with other displaced women and children, you matter.
In the pain of cancer or debilitating disease, you matter.
In the midst of one natural disaster after another, you matter.
In losing your mother, your child or best friend, you matter.
In battling depression of any kind, you matter.
In your agony over barrenness, you matter.
In the wake of rape, you matter.
In trying to discern the difference between abandonment and adoption as an adult, you matter.
In grappling with your birth as a result of sexual violation, you matter.
In experiencing the remorse of mistakes done to others and now time must be served to remedy your crime, you matter.
In the final stages this life offers, you matter.
You and I matter to God. We either learned to recite the verse as children or seen it scribbled on a grandstand board of some sporting event, but His word tells us –
“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NLT)
I once lived a life feeling unimportant, less valued. And though I knew God’s word, I felt I didn’t matter. No, I take that back. I BELIEVED THE LIE I didn’t matter. It took what I could see to touch what I could not at the time: a story of a $20 bill. It circulated on the internet for years, but let me spin my repurposed version of this tale:
Unless your last name registers amongst the elite 2%, $1000 bills don’t end up in your purse. You’ve nickled and dimed your way through life…until now. Enough is enough. You trade your paltry mindset for a better way of life. The Creator of every good and perfect gift hands you a crisp, brand-new Grover Cleveland and sends you joyfully on your way to serve Him. Before you can tuck this valuable gift in a safe place, you encounter the unthinkable – a thief! First, he taunts you. He considers anyone a fool for giving you, of all people, such a valuable gift. You ignore him at first, but when he snatches the bill from your hand (remember, you haven’t had time to secure it in a safe place), you panic. Instead of running away with the cash, he baits and teases you.
“I don’t think this bill’s real,” he snickers. The look of doubt you give eggs him on. “I bet it’s not worth the paper it’s printed upon.” He proceeds to use it as a Kleenex, drops it into an insect-infested pond, drags it in the slimy mud along its banks, allows diseased vermin to cover it in poop and then tears it in half. “Nope,” he laughs. “It looks worthless to me.” And if that weren’t enough, he tosses Grover in a well leaving you to exhume the pieces.
Okay, you know the question: What is that bill worth? If you know the Giver of every good and perfect gift, you also know the answer: $1000. Now, what are you worth to God? MORE. More than all the crap life dishes out. You see, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:6-8, NLT).
No matter how the enemy tries to dissuade us, deceive us or depreciate us, we matter to God because we are of value to Him.