Monday, November 21, 2011
1 Planet, 7 Billion People
1930 – 2 billion. 1974 – 4 billion. 1999 – 6 billion. 2011 – 7 billion.* We’re there now! It’s estimated that 7 billion people are scattered across the face of the earth. Think about all the lives, all the experiences, all the heartaches and hurts, all the joys and dreams that are represented by those 7 billion people. And God knows each one. He has created and loves each person, with their unique personality, abilities, and dreams.
I got a glimpse of just how many people are on our planet when I visited Barcelona, Spain. I had the chance to go there with my parents when I was eleven years old. My family and I stood on the corner of two streets that formed an “x,” and all I could see were apartment buildings on each side of the streets. The apartments rose high above us. I felt so small. So many apartments, so many people in one little area.
The apartments directly across from us all had balconies. Some were filled with tables and chairs, bikes, or toys. Some had rugs hanging over the railing. Others had people chatting and sipping coffee. As I looked around at all the balconies, I felt like they represented the people who lived inside. I wondered about them, who they were and what they were like.
We don’t have to go halfway around the world to know that there are so many people in the world, so many people who need to know about God and know His love. I heard a pastor once say that every person has three major needs—to be valued, to be accepted, and to be adequate. Everyone wants to know that they are loved and valued, everyone wants to belong to someone else or to a group, and everyone wants to know that they’re able to handle what comes up in life. In God, those needs are met perfectly. He can also give us other people who will love us and accept us. But only in Him are our needs ultimately satisfied.
My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 107:9, which says, “For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness” (NKJV). Every person is born with a God-sized hole in their hearts, a hole that only He can fill. We have the opportunity and the privilege to tell others about God, who loves them so much and wants them to belong to His “forever family.” He is the One who can satisfy their hearts like no one else can. As we walk among the 7 billion people on the planet, may we remember that God cares about each one, including us. We may be 1 in 7 billion, but God knows who we are and He loves us. We can tell others about Him…that He knows and He cares.
“O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways” (Psalm 139:1-3, NKJV).
*Population statistics come from “7 Population Milestones for 7 Billion People.”