Psalm 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.”
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Do you who believe in Jesus Christ know that even before God created the world that he had a plan for your life? We were chosen in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son (Eph 1:3-4; Rom 8:29; 2 Timothy 1:8-9).
Do you also know what God told Jeremiah when he called him to his service? He said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jer 1:5).
Not one of us is here by accident. It was the Lord who formed our inward parts. It was the Lord who knit us together in the wombs of our mothers. Even if we were brought up in orphanages or in abusive home environments, God placed us there for his purposes and for his plan for our lives.
For, he doesn’t promise us an easy life. In fact, he told Jeremiah that he was to speak God’s words to the people and to kings, and to public officials, and to priests (pastors for us), and he told him that they would fight against him. Not too promising, is it? Not from a human standpoint, anyway.
And Jeremiah accepted God’s call on his life, and it was just like God told him it would be, but Jeremiah remained faithful to the call, even though he was fought against, falsely accused, falsely imprisoned, mocked, called names, and derided because the people wanted only pleasant words.
Was Jeremiah happy about it all the time? No! He was a human being. He suffered. He hurt. It was not pleasant being hated, rejected, mocked, and falsely accused, etc. And there were times when he lamented his treatment:
“I have become a laughingstock all the day;
everyone mocks me.
For whenever I speak, I cry out,
I shout, ‘Violence and destruction!’
For the word of the Lord has become for me
a reproach and derision all day long.” Jer 20:7-8
But you know what? Even though he felt the pain of rejection and of being mocked and misunderstood, he knew God’s calling on his life, and inside him he could not be untrue to that calling, for he knew it was critical that he obey the Lord, even if he was mistreated, in return.
“If I say, ‘I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,’
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot.” Jer 20:9 Amen!
All the Days Ordained for Me
So, what’s the point of sharing that with you? It is that, although God has called us to be his holy people even before the creation of the world, and even though he formed us in the wombs of our mothers, and his works are wonderful, he is not promising us “smooth sailing.”
God’s love for us doesn’t mean we won’t have to suffer. We will! His love for us doesn’t mean we won’t be misunderstood or mocked for doing what he has called us to do. We will! If we were born into an abusive home environment, like I was, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love us. He does!
For, he sees what we need in order to be who he created us to be. And he sees what we must go through to be prepared to do what he has called us to do, too. For, just like an athlete must go into strict training, beating his body into submission (Paul’s words), we must go through training, too.
If we are born with a “silver spoon in our mouths,” so to speak, and we have perfect parents, and we are well loved, and life goes pretty easy for us, and we have lots of friends, we are not going to be prepared to do what Jeremiah had to do. And we are all called to proclaim Jesus to the world.
And we are all told that we will suffer persecution for the name of Jesus, too. So, hardships throughout our lives do get us ready for hardships later on, which are much more severe, so that we don’t run away from God’s calling on our lives, but so we stay the course.
Now, this is not saying that we then do all of this in our own strength because we have been well prepared. No! God is in it all from even before he made the world, and from before he placed us in our mother’s wombs, and all the days ordained for us were written in his book even before any one of them came into being.
Believe me, you can’t do what Jeremiah did in your own strength, no matter how well trained you are, or no matter how much you have experienced in your life in preparation for this moment. But God gives us our experiences to make us who we are, so he can use us in the way he had planned.
Some of us are already facing persecution for our walks of faith in Jesus Christ, and so we know somewhat the suffering Jeremiah went through to be faithful to God’s calling on his life. But we should also know that no matter what may come our way, we can’t hold it in. We have to keep giving out his words, even if the whole world turns against us, and they may.
But we can be encouraged knowing that our Lord Jesus is with us always, that he will never abandon those who are his, who are abiding in him, and he will see us through every difficulty. He will carry us through every trial and every heartache, and he will accomplish in us and through us all that he had planned for our lives before the ages began.
So, trust the Lord with your circumstances. Believe that he is sovereign over your life, and that he has all things under his command. Just keep doing what he says to do, and keep speaking the truths of God’s word, for his word will not return empty, but it will accomplish the purpose for which he sent it. So, be faithful to his call on your life, and you will be blessed.
You Loved Me
An Original Work / December 3, 2019
A song based off the poem by the same name
When I was lonely and afflicted,
You were there to pick me up.
You took me in Your arms,
And You held me tenderly.
Your love embraced me.
Your grace sustained me.
When my heart cried out to You
In my fear and my despair,
You never turned away,
But You let me know You loved me.
Your grace forgave me.
You did not shame me.
Then, when I answered the call,
“Here, Lord, send me.”
You sent me to where I must be.
Your mercy held me, did not fail me.
All this, You had planned, to use me.
And, when all trials and scorn
Came to test me.
You gave me all that I would need.
You strengthened me so I’d not fail You.
Your kindness blessed me, it touched me.
And, when I needed the church
To lift up me,
To hearten me so I’d not fail,
You blessed me with folks who would love me.
Their presence with me, Your praise hailed!
And, when I walked through the valley
Of the shadow of the death,
And tears flowed from my eyes,
Still Your kindness was there for me.
Your touch, it healed me.
For I believed You.
When now I think about the ways,
Of the many, many ways
That You in Your great love
Show me that You’ll always care for me,
My heart, it thanks You,
And gladness fills me, fills me.