This Week's Focus

Investigate my life, O God
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I'm about;
See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.

Psalm 139:23-24

Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 14: wrestle, cont'd

"... I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

My father-in-law is an accomplished cabinetmaker. A craftsman of utmost excellence. I have had the privilege of working by his side on some projects he's done for our home. His concentration, attention to detail, commitment to quality, high standards are all woven into each step of his pieces. I've watched his worn, beaten hands create smooth finishes on rich walnut. Watched them measure and remeasure, saw and re-saw until he gets a fit just right. And I've gotten to hold those warm, strong hands in moments of tenderness between us.

When people think of him making something and describe it as "skillfully made," they are really describing him, the maker, not the thing he made. The object is not "skillful" but because the one who made it was, that quality becomes inherent in the created thing.

So in this verse where "fearfully" and "wonderfully" are adverbs that describe the verb "made," is it also possible that these words are not describing the author of the psalm, they are describing how the Creator made him?

Fearful, in this context, means "reverent," "having awe."

If so, then God made us reverently! With reverence. With awe! As he thought through every detail of our DNA, and planned out each day of our lives, as his hands smoothed out the design for our being, he had reverence and awe. God has reverence and awe for us?

And so I think because those qualities were present in how he made us, they become inherent in us. We are reverently and wonderfully made by a reverent, awe-filled, wonderful Creator.


Day 14: wrestle

I have been reluctant, avoiding, not really wanting to focus on these next several verses, 13-16.

Possibly because they are the most common, often associated with the prolife v. prochoice debate.

I think more because it is easy to focus on God and how great he is. This hits to the core of me. What I do not believe about myself.

Today I find a prodding, doubtful voice saying, "How can what David wrote apply to you?" Of course David is wonderfully made. But am I really?

I have more questions than answers. What does it mean to be "fearfully made?" What does it mean to be woven together in the depth of the earth? What does it mean you wrote all my days before I've lived them? Mostly, how can David's words apply to me?

This morning we printed out many translations and read them several times. I tried to research more about David, and about when we need historical context and when we can read God's Word personally. No answers yet.

Uncomfortableness. Resistance. Difficulty. Tangled. Confused. Wrestling.

Day 12 and 13: Ripples

Saturday I sat with about 8 women and shared my life-long struggle with feeling worthless, and what God is doing in me with this Psalm. It broke my heart to hear nearly all of them open up about feeling worthless, too. How I long for them to know and feel and live valued by God; how much more He must have that longing for all of us. How many more people feel this way?

Sunday we read the Psalm together as a family, each one sharing what stood out to them. The glimpse of a person's heart that is given in this kind of sharing touches my own so much. I watched my 13-year-old daughter read what I'd written on a day and I felt so thankful that she is learning this early in her life. And my 9-year-old son wrote a card for me that expressed how much I am loved, showing me that he understands. I asked him how he knew what to write and he replied, "I think God gave me a message for you, Mom."

I woke up Sunday morning with a new feeling. All I can ever remember is a sense of a dark hole in my soul that nothing could fill. The image of standing next to a stream but never drinking from it. Being aware of God but never turning him to quench the thirst for affirmation and worth that is so deep in me. But this morning I woke with a completely different picture, sense. I could almost literally hear the stream running. I am standing in it. I am bending over with my mouth wide open, drinking in. Every pocket and crevice I have is open to be filled with His living water. I don't see the dark hole in me anymore; only the sound of water filling me up; only the color of blue, clear and fresh water.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

I just realized ... it is pouring down rain as I write this...