I came across a few thousand of these little guys the other day.
It was 8 in the evening and the cool summer air smelled of cottonwood and tall grass. These little frogs must have just gotten their legs and come up out of a nearby marsh. I saw the one, and then, while picking it up, I discovered that there were hundreds nearby, and more along the way. Each one tiny and delicate. Each one new and amazing.
In the modern age - it is easy to be lost in the size and complexity of information and life. Where before one could look up things in an atlas or encyclopedia and marvel at distant wonders, never quite immediate or real to our local lives, now, a live stream shows us exactly what is happening.
Once we were islands, small communities separated from one another by distance and time, but now we are all connected in ways that we still don’t really understand. Video chatting and GPS, email and cell towers, communication and information flow rapidly with little to restrain it and often even less restraint.
It is overwhelming to be one of 7 Billion, just one more small voice, one more tiny life, one more little frog that just got its legs.
But as I have lived with scripture over the years, there is something about God that consistently doesn’t seem interested in the big numbers. God routinely talks with one person at a time in the biblical witness.
Even though God is sustaining and still creating all of our universe - God relates to humanity through individuals in specific places and times. God maybe infinite in love and power, but God acts locally time and again. When the Israelites have a problem - Moses gets roped in, and Aaron eventually. When God’s chooses a people, Abraham and Sarah are on the hook. When Creation needs a reboot, its Noah and his family’s turn.
And most critically - when God chooses to save all of humanity, it starts with one young girl, Mary, one man, Joseph, and God in the form of one son, Jesus.
Jesus operates primarily through relationships as well. One baptism at a time, one holy supper, one sharing of the peace, one confession and forgiveness at a time.
That little frog seemed so delicate and fragile. I was reminded of my own kids and my own feeling of insignificance in the face of the deep issues at work in our community and in our world. But God is not awed by the numbers. A billion voices can be heard all at once by God as one voice at a time. Even while sustaining all of creation, God has attention for the tiny frog.
God has care and attention for the little child down the street or the worker in the back room. God has time and love for the tree swallow flying low over the lake and for the fisherman trolling by.
God has time and attention, love and deep care for you. It is not lessened or diluted by numbers, or time, or distance, or space. Nothing can separate you from that love. It is for you. Jesus entire life and ministry, his death and resurrection, they are for you. And the Spirit that Jesus has sent to us, that binds us with our neighbors and prods us into action for the sake of the world - it is for you.
Don’t get bogged down by the numbers, by the size or distance or time. God is present and available for you. Now. God’s listening, waiting, and loves you.