Each human being is ‘wonderfully made’

Each human being is ‘wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14 King James Version)

Bill Bryson is one of my favourite authors whose writings have guided me on virtual tours of such fascinating places as Britain (that has long been his home), Europe, U.S.A. (his country of origin) and Australia, to name but a few. His thirteenth book (he says is his last at age 68) takes the reader on a journey through the human body. And as early as page five he discloses ‘unquestionably the most astounding thing about us – we are just a collection of inert components, the same stuff you would find in a pile of dirt’! And billions and billions of atoms that ‘make you … are mindless particles … without a single thought or notion between them,’ because ‘your atoms are just building blocks and are not themselve alive.’

None of this surprises those of us who have read the opening chapters of the Bible. Here we find agreement with Bryson’s assessment, for ‘the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground’ (Genesis 2:7), and, as the verse goes on to say, that dimension was supplied when the Creator ‘breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person’ (New Living Translation, unless otherwise indicated).

Then, as he gets towards the end of his first chapter, Bryson slips in one line about childbirth: ‘we … have pelvises too small to pass children without excruciating pain’, echoing what God ‘said to the woman’ following her and Adam’s rebellion: ‘in pain you will give birth’ (Genesis 3:16).

[] A matter for praise and prayer

Composer King David waxes eloquent in worshipful gratitude as he sings his praise to ‘the Lord’ his Creator in Psalm 139: ‘You made all the delicate inner parts of my body’ (as Bryson elaborates chapter by chapter), ‘and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous’ – and completes his sentence with a surprising claim – ‘how well I know it’ (139:13-14). Such knowledge did not reach him scientifically by scalpel or microscope, but by divine revelation! That’s why he continues extolling God’s intricate knowledge of his formation in the darkness of his mother’s womb (139:15-16). And he warms to the preciousness of God’s innumerable, detailed thoughts towards him from conception onwards. No wonder he ends his psalm in prayer for God continually to ‘search me … and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts’ that might develop into doubt of God’s ongoing infinite care. ‘Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life’ (139:23-24).

[] How we can communicate God’s precious thoughts in practical ways

How precious also can be our thoughts towards our brothers and sisters who, when ‘out of sight’, are not ‘out of mind’.

While writing this blog I found myself praying about how some long-lost members of my spiritual family were progressing, without any plan on my part of trying to track them down in case I interrupted their possibly busy schedules. Just then the telephone rang. The cheerful voice that greeted me was of a spiritual son and regular interpreter of my spoken ministry in his homeland of Poland. His nation was in lockdown because of the Covid-19 virus pandemic. That, with his duties of care of his aged mother prevented him from meeting with other believers. But my heart swelled with joyous re-assurance as he regaled me with his biblical insights and answers to prayer etc. He had also been feeding his soul with my biblical blogs, and ended his call with a promise to tune in to my (then) recent series of nine studies in the book of Revelation.

On putting the phone down I felt prompted to call up a spiritual Polish daughter and former interpreter, now a wife and mother of three teenage children here in the U.K. Her immediate reply was: ‘I’ve been intending to call you for some time recently but life has been so full. However I am just about to reduce my work-hours’ (and it was now the weekend anyway).

As John expressed it: ‘I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.’ He had just heard of the well-being of some of them from ‘travelling teachers recently returned and made me happy by telling me about your faithfulness and that you are living according to the truth’ (3 John 3-4).

How ‘wonderfully made’ is the Body of Christ that is still ‘a work in progress’.

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