Over the past three weeks I have been in three cities in China and one in the Philippines. The combined population of these 4 cities is well over 50 million people and all are rapidly growing. Interesting to note, Japan is the only country on the planet that has a declining population and the facts surrounding that discovery are somewhat fascinating and alarming. Check it out. Of course you know any given population is constantly changing with births and deaths every day. How does anyone actually know how many people there are at any given moment in time?
Beijing – 21.7 million
Zhengzhou – 9.3 million
Guangzhou – 13+ million
Manila – 13+ million
To give a more clear perspective of these numbers in relation to the United States, the current US population is approaching 325 million people, total. Our largest city is New York which has 8.55 million people and Los Angeles our 2nd largest city, just over 4 million.
Over the past 3 weeks I have been transported in a rickshaw, ski-lift, toboggan, cars, vans, taxis, buses, bullet and regular trains, trams, subways and planes, no scooters, motorbikes or boats this trip. I have looked into the faces and eyes of countless people and precious children. Since I have light skin and blue eyes (on some days) I draw attention in these masses. Thankfully no children screamed in terror when they saw me on this trip. I have had that reaction by some when visiting African countries; it breaks my heart every time. I have been very well treated and called ma’am or madam, by all ages, more in the past three weeks than in three years here in the states. Yes, some cultures still respect their elders and train the next generation to do so.
Let me give us even greater perspective. These numbers simply represent the current population of the globe. They do not represent all those who have already lived and died. They also do not represent those who are yet to be born.
Debriefing after a trip like this takes time…deliberate and intentional time. One of the things I do for SFH team members following trips, especially to Liberia, is help them process through what they have experienced.
“The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.“~Psalm 33:11
My experiences over the past three weeks are too numerous to recount. I do not have any one to debrief with, except my LORD. He was the only one traveling with me, as a team member, this trip. He will provide others to help with this process in a variety of ways though and I am anticipating those opportunities. I trust my LORD to lead me through this time of debriefing over the next days and weeks, making sure I retain and glean all He desires. The gospel of John is our focus for Bible Study Fellowship this year and I have no doubt He will speak through this study in numerous ways. I constantly tell my Brothers and Sisters, “Our God wastes nothing!” This is true for all my experiences these past three weeks, as well.
I have to wonder how many of those, I have seen with my own eyes, do not know Him or do not even know of Him. I also have to wonder how many of those DO know Him and embrace His love and plan even more so than you and I do.
Note: I realized I was thirsty, just now, so I went into the kitchen to get a drink of water…FROM THE FAUCET! Not something I could do over the past three weeks. The things I take for granted…
One step deeper!
Maybe you are thinking how insignificant you really are in relation to the masses? Maybe you think God is too busy with everyone else, He does not have time for you?
Maybe you think there is nothing you could do to make a difference in this world?
Think again! And take those thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, as I must do.
This is what the Bible teaches about you and me and every other human being of this world and how personally engaged our God truly is with each of us!
“And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”~Matthew 10:30
“The sheep hear His voice, and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.”
“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.”
“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.”
“You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.”
“But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.”
“Because He bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath!”
~Psalm 116:2“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.”
Be assured our Creator God knows the intimate details of every one of us at any given moment in time, even when the census folks do not. Do not allow the enemy a foothold and cause you to think mistakenly you and your life do not matter among the masses. It is the one-to-one that our God delights in and was the reason He sent His one and only Son to every one of us.