by Chaplain Leigh Ann Min
Shelby Baptist Medical Center
O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
For it was You who formed my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; that I know very well. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In Your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed. ---Psalm 139:1,13-16 (NRSV)
Have you ever wanted to escape from life’s challenges? Do you wish it was as easy as pressing the “skip” button on the CD player? Even better to press the “eject” button, figuratively speaking of course, to avoid a particular responsibility or commitment made to another person? Thanks be to God our relationship with our Creator is inescapable. Our identity is grounded and formed by God and so is not dependent upon us. We are bound and grounded in a covenant relationship with God based on grace. We can handle life’s challenges by claiming and reclaiming, with the Psalmist, the characteristics of our God-given identity.
Our identity is in the Lord who “searched me and [has] known me” says the Psalmist in verse one and elaborates on what this means through verse twelve. God knows our physical situations. God knows our mental processes: all our thoughts, good, bad and indifferent. God knows our ways, our journeys. God surrounds us in boundaries of love and care. There is no place we can be, heaven or hell, darkness or light, to escape God’s presence.
Our identity is formed by God. We are inwardly made and “knit together” in our mother’s wombs. We are “fearfully and wonderfully” made. The Jerusalem Bible translates verses 13 and 14: “It was you who created my inmost self, and put me together in my mother’s womb; for all these mysteries I thank you; for the wonder of myself, for the wonder of your works.” We are wonderfully made, distinctively created and separated out in the wonder of God.
Our identity is (1) in the Lord, (2) formed by God, and (3) is everlasting to God. God knows “the days that were formed for me” says the Psalmist. God knows the length of our existence. We cannot earn it or increase it. We do not choose when we are born nor choose when we are to die. We are God’s and our life is a gift. God beholds us in our formed and unformed natures, physically, mentally and spiritually, and chooses to give us life. We can trust this truth. When life gets challenging, we are not alone and need not act alone. We can claim strength in our identity in the One who formed us, guides us and is.
O, Lord, as we experience the challenges of life, help us to remember that there is no where we can go from You. Help us to put our trust in You, recognize and receive the goodness of Your gift of life, refrain from acting impulsively and to wait trusting that You know us and love us eternally. Amen.