According to recent articles in the news, several schools in China are employing “Smart Uniforms” to track their students’ whereabouts.
The uniforms, designed by a local tech firm, have two embedded computer chips that link up with a global positioning system.
This enables both school administrators and parents to check on the student’s location at any time during school hours. To keep children from switching their uniforms with other students (i.e., to fool administrators and parents), facial scanners at school gates ensure that faces match uniforms. This technology alerts administrators when a child has left the school grounds or has fallen asleep in class. It also keeps tabs on purchases the student makes at the school cafeterias and stores.
Some critics claim this constitutes an invasion of the child’s privacy. However, school officials insist that “student tracking” is kept to a bare minimum. News reports omitted any mention of parental concerns. But as a parent whose oldest son and oldest grandson have each disappeared from school on separate occasions, I look favorably on this new technology. Those kids took years off my life from worry, fearing that the worst had happened to them. Both boys simply didn’t feel like attending class on those days. It would have been great to be able to track down their location. Students probably aren’t thrilled about having to wear “smart uniforms.” But, unless they’re doing something wrong, they shouldn’t have any concerns. And, if they are in trouble, injured, or abducted, this technology should be a great source of comfort to them.
Of course, God doesn’t need such devices to track us. This aspect of God’s constant vigilance over us has been particularly meaningful to God’s people in the Bible. Think of Jonah. Even while rebelling against God, Jonah dreaded the fact that God’s scrutiny is inescapable. God called Jonah to travel east to the city of Nineveh. Jonah bought passage on a boat bound west to Tarshish (Spain). He even hid in the bottom of the ship while trying to flee from God’s presence. But nothing escapes God’s notice. He knew exactly where to find Jonah. Of course, within the span of a few hours, when Jonah was in the stomach of a huge fish, he was thrilled that God could find him (Jonah 1–2).
And do you remember Jesus’ words to Nathaniel? Nathaniel had been sitting beneath a fig tree, despondent that he was just another person in the crowd, only one tiny speck on this tiny planet in a vast universe. How could God possibly take notice of someone so small and insignificant? Yet as he approached Jesus for the first time, the Lord told him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” That was all Nathaniel needed to hear. He became convinced that Jesus was divine and chose to follow Him from that moment (John 1:47–51).
Do you also remember Sarah’s maid, Hagar? Driven from her mistress’ home, she felt unwanted and abandoned. But God met her in the desert and told her that she had a future—as did the child she carried. Hagar was particularly impressed that God took notice of her. “You are a God who sees me,” was Hagar’s testimony (Genesis 16:7–14).
Unwanted to Wanted
From what we gather in the Psalms and the book of 1 Samuel, it appears that David may have been an “unwanted child.” He refers to his father and mother forsaking him (Psalm 27:10). When the prophet Samuel came to David’s home to anoint the next King of Israel, David’s father kept him in the shadows. His father, Jesse, appears to have been reluctant to bring his youngest son before the prophet (1 Samuel 16:1–13). Yet God brought this young man from abject obscurity, out of nowhere, and exalted him as King over His people Israel.
David never ceased holding amazement that God took notice of him and focused His attention on him. In praise to God, David wrote, “Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up. You understand my thoughts from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down. You are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O God, You know all I am about to say. You have enclosed me, behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me” (Psalm 139:1–5).
Yes, though we are tiny compared to this vast universe and just one among billions, God has no trouble tracking us. He knows our address. He keeps the hairs of our head numbered—as well as the cells of our body (all 37.5 trillion of them). In pure love God never allows us to escape His notice. His goodness and mercy relentlessly pursue us all the days of our lives (Psalm 23:6).
Dear Father in heaven, into Your tender and loving care I commit myself, my family, and all that I love. Open my eyes to Your love, O God, that I may cease to worry. Help me to grasp the height, depth, length, and breadth of Your love and to experience Your love every day. Amen.