More than a number

You are more than a number. It really is true. Some of us would very happily be defined by our numbers: the number of As we achieved in our exams, our salary, our ranking in a given discipline. Others of us would not be so happy, feeling that they do not reflect our true ability or passion for a given activity. Numbers, however, are just numbers. They are arbitrary; they are often subjective. Sometimes we fall short of a line, other times we happen to exceed it. Sometimes our numbers are expected, other times unexpected. Very often, however, the numbers are not totally in our hands.

Yet, we are more than numbers. Numbers do not tell of our brokenness one day or the slice of luck that we had the next. Numbers might not fully reflect the amount of work we put in, whether colossal or otherwise. Numbers do not express our emotions; they are merely characterless digits that capture little more than a given moment in time. A snapshot, maybe even as much as an indication; but not the full story.

To God, we are more than numbers. He knows each of us by name, the number of hairs on our head, even the number of tears we have cried. He cares about us. Cared so much that when he saw that we were wandering away from him, he wanted to bring us back to him. This involved a costly calculation: all the wrong and twisted thoughts and actions in history for the life of one person, God’s own Son, pure and blameless. The one died on behalf of the many; everyone who believes in that One, can have eternal life. God loves us – we are more than a number.

So, if we find ourselves with a number we are pleased about, we can be thankful for that, but we need not obsess about it. Numbers are addictive and everyone eventually reaches a limit. If we find ourselves with a number that disappoints us, we need not worry about it, but trust that somehow in some way, it will all work out. In any case, we can look beyond the numbers to an infinite Being who loves us. You are more than a number. It really is true.

This piece was inspired by the release of A-Level and GCSE results, although the present author is also awaiting the results of a Masters dissertation.

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