Guess what it is.
It’s 158,258,917. 158 MILLION 258 THOUSAND 917 people in Nigeria today. According to www.operationworld.org. Wikipedia says more (168 mil). It also says the President’s name is Goodluck Jonathan, which is obviously amazing. But I’d like to talk about something more amazing.
Learning the population, what I would consider a rather large population, of Nigeria today, a country (among many) I only think about when I happen to see the word in print on occasion, made me think about how many people there are inhabiting the planet. I have, indeed, thought about this before, and it has freaked me out.
Two years ago this fall, someone/the news/the world announced that the world population had reached 7 billion persons. I remember thinking, “Whoa, it’s been 6 billion(ish) for as long as I can remember. How’d we get a billion more?” Upon second thought, gradual growth seemed to make sense. Those billion didn’t come over night and all have the same birthday. But this isn’t the freaky part.
I began to think about how many people there had ever been EVER here on planet Earth. Since the beginning of time. Aiyiyi. I do not have the knowledge or wisdom to even guesstimate that number. Even freakier is the fact that…
Probably a lot of them have looked like you. Like maybe close to exactly. Who knows? No one could disprove it at this point. 10 people? 8,400 people? Your guess is as good as mine. And the freakiest fact and the point to which I am getting is…
No one has been or is or will ever be exactly like you. Your genetic makeup, at this time, at this place, in this situation, in 2013. It reminds me of this scene in Garden State:
Zach Braff! Funny every time.
Out of all the immeasurable amount of human beings that have ever breathed here, you get to employ the uniqueness of your own person and life at this moment. And hopefully for many, many more moments. So be encouraged today. I do think we’re each special. I would be denying the power and skill of my Creator otherwise (“knitted together”…”fearfully and wonderfully made”…”intricately woven” – Psalm 139…beautiful). I don’t think that’s cheesy or promoting self-absorption. It might be if we left out the next freaky fact…
You get to live life with those 6,999,999,999 (did I do that right?) uniquely crafted people. You get to know them! And learn about and celebrate the uniqueness of all the other ones that came before us, and appreciate the good they did for us. And with many, be sorry for the losses they brought about and learn from their mistakes and their involvement with evil.
Self-reflection is valid, and so is self-concern. But 1 vs. 6,999,999,999….if I’m honest with myself, it would probably do me good to occupy a much higher percentage of my thoughts with the souls that the latter number represents. And wrap all that in using our thoughts to consider the One that I believe made all of those people…well you will have material to chew on and wonder about for many lifetimes.