Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

A few days ago, Gary and I were with our 4 year old grandson, Dominic, when we ran into an old acquaintance.  After Gary and I shock hands with our friend, Dominic held his hand out to this man and proceeded to say, “Hi, my name is Thomas!”  As the two gentlemen shook hands, our friend smiled and responded, “How do you do, Thomas?  My name is Arnold.”

Arnold had no knowledge of Dominic’s real name, but we could hardly keep from laughing out loud!  You see, Dominic loves to play with trains and his favorite engine is Thomas the Tank.  When we are together, Dominic often pretends that he is Thomas, Gary is Percy, Thomas’ best friend and I’m Emily, the only female on the “Steam Team.”  Even when we are not playing trains, Dominic often refers to us and himself with our engine names.

I recall wanting to be referred to as Annette when my sister, brother and I were playing together.  In my childhood estimation, there was no greater tribute than to be identified with the beautiful Annette Funicello!  My sister and brother had their chosen identities, as well, for very “important” reasons, I’m sure.

Isn’t it interesting how, even as young as four years of age, we begin to believe that we “don’t quite measure up” and long to be identified as the “important” one, the “mighty” one, the “beautiful” one or the “smart” one?  This issue certainly isn’t resolved as we move into adulthood.  It seems that we’re never quite satisfied with our uniqueness.  I observed a prime example of this while in the Philippines where there are as many, if not more, skin whitening clinics as there are tanning spas here in the States!  Why do we go to such great and foolish lengths to be something that we are not?

Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from
the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.
- Samuel Johnson

At a time when he was being teased by his young classmates, I remember telling my son, Jake that the list is endless for those who want to find fault in others.  In the eyes of critics we are too strong or too weak, too pretty or too ugly, too fat or too skinny, too smart or too dumb, too tall or too short, too serious or too silly.  Being surrounded with varying opinions, we could go insane believing that we need to measure-up to others’ expectations!  However, if we consider that God uses each of our differences and “short comings” to draw us into a growing knowledge of how desperately we need Him, then what the Psalmist writes in 139:14-16 can be very comforting and assuring of God’s love and purpose in every strength and “weakness” that is ours:

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.

When you find yourself in the face of pounding critics, be assured that they have been warned, "Don't criticize people, and you will not be criticized. For you will be judged by the way you criticize others, and the measure you give will be the measure you receive" [Matt. 7:1-2].

While it took me a long time and a lot of distress to come to the realization of this important truth, I pray that you will also rest in the peace of knowing that

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.
Man looks at the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7

Our Creator has a perfect plan for what He desires to accomplish in and through each one of us!  Be assured that He will accomplish it using every characteristic that is ours; including those which we or others believe to be faults!


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