“Do not worry, for the very hairs on your head are numbered.”
I remember the first time I came across that verse. I was fascinated, in awe. My mother was in school to be a hair stylist, and I was around hair culture every day. I remember sneaking my mother’s hair styling manequin and trying to count the hairs. I kept losing track!
Later, I remember telling children about this verse for the first time. There are some things that children know to be impossible: counting sand, stars, hairs, the number of times a sparrow drops to the ground to steal a crumb. We are small, and these things (stars excluded in actuality but not in appearance) are smaller, and we can’t keep track of them, no matter how much they catch our attention. But there’s a loving attention that can, and that makes us say, “Wow.”
For those of us who struggle with attention, this witness to the capacity of God is a comfort and a joy.
There are parts of scripture where I think Jesus hid little Easter eggs for autistics. I’m claiming the Apostle Nathaniel as one of us autistics, for instance, because he was without guile. Then there are Jesus’ really detailed and specific, concrete teachings about worry and anxiety.
Autistic people tend toward both worry and anxiety because of the burden of sorting so much input. We have to work hard to train our big, especially complex brains to pay attention to the things that are important to us. I’m in the process of teaching my older children these skills now, and I couldn’t help remembering this passage of scripture.
It’s not only knowing that God loves us in a general sense that helps to calm the too-much feelings. It’s knowing that God cares about the little details of us and our days. Jesus blessed children who probably had grains of sand under their little fingernails. They might have been damp and grubby. He noticed them as they were. He noticed the smallest seeds that were taking over the garden. He could spot a fig in a canopy of leaves. More importantly, he taught that the God Who Sees that had been known in the stories of the Old Testament is still the God Who Sees in the New Testament.
The remarkable consistency of God’s character puts us at ease.
He looks after us and wants to hear our silence and our concerns. He looks after us and makes sure that we are always met with love, whether we rise or fall.