Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:7
Cancer patients going through chemotherapy and radiation treatments may lose their hair at some point. Even knowing it will likely happen, the experience can be traumatic. First, shedding. Then clumps falling out. Spotty patches on your scalp. Finally, shaving all the hair off…it is difficult…even if you do happen to have a perfectly shaped head.
The verse makes me laugh: “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” As I write this, I am receiving chemotherapy that has caused me to lose my hair. As such, God numbering my hair isn’t especially impressive, unless we are counting the nearly invisible stubble!
On the other hand, what is very miraculous is that God knows. God knows that I have lost my hair. God knows my head is clammy and cold. God knows I do not like the way it feels or looks. It is uncomfortable, cold, and clammy, and upsetting.
At times, we may feel God must not know what I am experiencing. Today’s passage reminds us God knows everything that happens to you. Everything that is lost. Every struggle. All your cares and concerns. Not even the smallest detail escapes his awareness. As the song proclaims, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches over me.”
We may feel our lives’ details are inconsequential to the Master of the Universe. But even the hairs on your head like a sparrow, although they are worth little in the grand scheme of life, cannot fall without his knowledge. Hair is not a matter of life or death. It neither adds nor takes away anything in our relationship with God, yet God is aware and cares about your hair and what has been lost.
The passage comes in the context of Jesus’ teaching on fear. “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more” (Luke 12:4).
While fear is a natural part of life, we tend to fear the wrong things. We should not fear the one who can take our life but can never take or touch our soul. For this reason, we should never fear cancer – no matter what it does or threatens.
Jesus instructs us to fear only the one who has the power to take our lives and our soul – God. And because Jesus has saved us from sin and death and bestowed upon us forgiveness, eternal life, and the love of God, we have nothing to fear other than falling out of love with God.
There is great comfort in knowing God knows. His motives are not voyeuristic. They are salvific. God listen and loves, watches, and waits for our call for help, and comes. He is good, merciful, loving, and all powerful.
If your hair is lost, regard your bald head as a sacred and beautiful reminder that the God who knows everything about your cancer journey, is present to help, and loves you no matter what.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for watching over me. Remind me that nothing happens to me without your knowing. Help me trust your more fully. Save me from all fear but the fear of disappointing you. Amen.
Your Turn: Whitney Houston’s rendition of “His Eye is on The Sparrow” remains beautiful and soul stirring. Just listen.
The above devotional was written for Cancer Companions, a wonderful and important ministry, and their soon to be released year-long daily devotional book for cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. Inside the Journey: Daily Devotions from People Who've Known Cancer is a collaboration of several authors. I am grateful to be one.