Nearly every baby dedication or Christian baby shower includes a reference to Psalm 139:13-16, which says:
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.
This passage reveals great truths about God’s sovereignty over life in its earliest stages. God is the author of all life. How glorious that a holy God would be so intimately involved in our lives! But what if you don’t feel like you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”? What if your body is ravaged by cancer, plagued by infertility or frequent pregnancy loss, or succumbing to an incurable illness? What if your child’s development is slowed or disabled by autism or Down’s syndrome? While we cling to the fact that God is the creator of life, not every life comes out physically perfect. Can we trust that Psalm 139 includes these people, too?
Broken People Whole
From the time of the Fall in Genesis 3 until now, sin has distorted what God created to be perfect. The Old Testament passages on the Law present this clearly. The regulations on cleanness and uncleanness show that God demands holiness and perfection. They show us that things are not right, that there must be another, better way. Sure enough, with the curse came the promise (Gen. 3:15). The Law exposed sin and brokenness on all levels. Jesus came on the scene and by his life, death, and resurrection makes broken people whole.
Psalm 139 indicates the Creator regards all human beings as valuable. God cares about the intricate details of our formation. Using poetical language, the psalm depicts God knitting us together, orchestrating every chromosome in our genetic makeup. He gave us his image, making us unlike any other creatures in his creation (Gen. 1:27). This was true before the Fall and remains true even after our demise into sin. Jesus is the most amazing example of perfectly living out this perspective on mankind. In his earthly ministry he often healed the outcasts and despised. Even the Law prohibited touching many of them (Lev. 13-15). But
Jesus went to them. He touched them, making himself ceremonially unclean, healing them both physically and spiritually. Jesus viewed all people, regardless of their condition, as valuable image-bearers. In fact, as the Creator he created them and watched over their development from the earliest stages (Col. 1:16). When we minister to people who are broken both physically and spiritually, we can do so with the same heart as our Savior.
Hope for the Future
I don’t know why God creates some people with sound minds and others without. I don’t know why he gives some women fruitful wombs, while others try for years to no avail. I don’t know why some people fight cancer for years and lose the battle, while others are cured after treatment. And I don’t think we are meant to know, at least in this life.
When Jesus healed a man born blind, he turned the disciples’ thoughts on their heads by not only healing the man but also explaining that his blindness was so God would get glory in his life (John 9:1-3). So there is a purpose to our suffering and our physical brokenness—so that the works of God might be displayed in our fragile lives. What was destroyed by the fall of man will one day be restored when Christ makes all things new. When he inaugurated his kingdom all those years ago he was showing in his earthly ministry what will one day be true of all who are found in him. Revelation 21:4-5 is a beautiful picture of what is to come: tears will be no more, death and sin will be finally conquered, and all things will be made new.
That means you.
Jesus’ healing of the broken, despised, and rejected foreshadowed the final redemption that believers will see one day. He secured this blessed redemption by becoming the most unclean person of all on the Cross. He identifies with your brokenness, pain, and isolation. Not only do you have a hope for future healing in the next life, but you also have a comforting Savior for this life (Isa. 53:4).
So while some are given the devastating charge of walking through this life more physically broken than the rest, we can trust that this life is not the end of the story. We have a hope for the future that was paid for by the Savior. The only hope for the suffering and broken person is to cling to Jesus, the one who can cleanse us of our sins and give us a future and a final resting place.
Regardless of your physical or mental status, you are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who loves you deeply. He created you in his image. Your life is not a mistake. It is a gift. And Psalm 139 has your name on it.