Psalms 139:13-16 ESV
“For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.”
How easy it is to read this casually without thinking about what all that means. But what it is saying is that it was God’s plan for us to be born into the families we were born into and for us to have the parents and the siblings that we had, and to have the experiences that we had with them. Now God is not the author of evil, so if evil is what happened to us, he did not cause that. But he allowed it or it couldn’t have happened, and he put us in those families knowing full well what was going to happen to us, too.
Just think with me for a moment about all the people in the Bible. God allowed evil to happen to Job, for Satan to inflict him and to kill off his children and his servants and animals. God could have prevented all that from happening, but he didn’t. And he allowed Joseph to be mistreated by his brothers and to be sold as a slave, and he allowed Daniel to be thrown into a den of lions, and he allowed Paul to be beaten nearly to death and to be falsely arrested and put in prison, although he had done no wrong.
So, the fact that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by God, and that his works are wonderful, does not necessitate that life should be all rosy for us and that we should not have to suffer. In fact, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are to share in the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death (Philippians 3:8-11). We are to be crucified with Christ in death to sin so that we can be raised with him to walk in newness of life in him. And Jesus promised us that we would be hated and persecuted as he was.
[Rom 6:1-23; Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12]
So, when life punches us in the gut we should not be shocked by it, nor should we get angry with God, feeling as though he gave us a raw deal. He never promised us an easy life free from pain and suffering. In fact, he promised us the opposite. For, God allows us to suffer to humble us, and to make and mold us into the people he wants us to be. For, as his followers, we are but mere clay in the Potter’s hands for him to mold and to shape for his purposes, and for his glory, and for our ultimate good.
So, while we are praising the Lord that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by him, that must include praising him in the bad times and in the good times, and in all the circumstances of our lives. And we must praise him, too, that he called us and he chose us to be his holy people and that he has allowed bad things in our lives to make us holy, and to purify us, and to shape us into the people he wants us to be, to be used of him for his glory. For our trials are for our good, to make us who God wants us to be.
And I am speaking to myself here, too, for I need to be reminded of that, too, when I am going through various trials. No matter how difficult things can be sometimes, God is still in control. He is still on the throne. He is still fully sovereign over all that he has made, and he is still working all things for good for those of us who love and obey him, and who have been called according to his purposes. And being called according to his purposes means going through trials in order for God to make us who he wants us to be.
But these trials are not an afterthought. None of these take God by surprise. For those of us who are in Christ, by God-given faith in him, we were chosen by God to be his even before the creation of the world. So, for me, that means that even before God created the world he chose me in him to be doing exactly what he has me now doing. And he planned for my life all the hardships and trials I have been through, and some I am still going through, to make me who I am so I will do what he has called me to do.
[Ps 139:13-16; Rom 8:29; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Eph 1:3-4; 1 Pet 1:14-16]
In other words, what this says here is that in God’s book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. My birth family, my marriage, my children, the places I have lived, the experiences I have been through, etc. were all part of God’s plan and purpose for my life. Now, when I sinned against him, that was not his will, but after I repented he used that in my life, too, to teach me his will and to make me into the person he wanted me to be to be used for his purposes.
So, please give this some thought about your own life. God doesn’t make mistakes. He did not make a mistake when he made you. And he is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. So, if you are resisting him because of bad circumstances in your life, yield to him today and let him have his way with your life. Forgive those who have hurt you and learn from your experiences what God wants you to learn. And then grow from those experiences rather than let them take you out.
Psalms 139:17-18,23-24 ESV
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.”
“Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!”
It is not good to be too introspective, but it is good for us to regularly search our own hearts to make certain that we are in line with the Lord, and as some people put it, that we are “on the same page” with him. We need to stay in tune with the Lord and be following him and his will for our lives day by day. It is easy to get distracted by the things of this world, so it is good to do regular checkups of one’s own heart to make certain that we are still on course and that we are still following our Lord in the way he would have us to go.
By W. B. Stevens
Tempted and tried we’re oft made to wonder,
Why it should be thus all the day long;
While there are others living about us,
Never molested though in the wrong.
When death has come and taken our loved ones,
It leaves our home so lonely and drear;
Then do we wonder why others prosper,
Living so wicked year after year.
Faithful till death said our loving Master,
A few more days to labor and wait;
Toils of the road will then seem as nothing,
As we sweep through the beautiful gate.
When we see Jesus coming in glory,
When He comes from His home in the sky;
Then we shall meet Him in that bright mansion,
We’ll understand it all by and by.
Farther along we’ll know all about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, don’t worry, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.
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