Digging in Deeper: Psalm 139:13-16

“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.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

There are two great truths that come out of this passage.  One of them is deeply personal and has been greatly encouraging to me for many years.  The other is prophetically cultural.  It speaks a word of truth into an area of cultural and political division in our country that is increasingly sharp in its contrast between the two sides.

First the personal: Although in our therapeutic culture this idea is becoming so cliché as to become nearly meaningless, you are special.  I don’t mean that in some weak sense in which you are special just like everyone else such that no one is really special.  I mean that in the sense David reveals in these verses.  God designed you specially and specifically.  He made you personally and He only makes wonderful things.  He was a part of knitting you together piece by piece as you grew and developed.

What’s more, He put you together for a purpose.  He planned out every day of your life before you lived a single one of them.  Without getting into the beautiful and important thicket of how God’s sovereignty and our freedom work together, this doesn’t mean that He preordained every single action you would take and decision you would make such that freedom is really an illusion.  Rather, He knew the shape and scope of your journey through life and planned blessings for you to enjoy along with experiences designed to grow you in His image before your journey began.  This is a statement not of God controlling you, but of the care and intention that God put into make you, you.

No one else is just like you.  They are all just like themselves.  God made them specially and intentionally too.  The implications of this truth are vast.  It means you don’t need to search for meaning in all sorts of different places.  You were made with a purpose.  You don’t need to seek value in a variety of groups and places.  God designed you with inestimable value from the first moment there was a you.  You don’t need to look to other people or things to be affirmed in your uniqueness.  God made you special.

It also means that other people have value.  They are the unique creations of a loving God.  He doesn’t want you messing with His creations or treating them poorly.  He expects you to treat them just like He does.

This leads us to the culturally prophetic truth.  Because God designs each person uniquely and personally and plans out their journey through life before it begins, it is not morally permissible to end a life before it begins.  More specifically, abortion is not morally permissible under any circumstances.

What David is saying here is clear.  God is involved intimately with the creation of each and every single person from the moment of conception onward.  He is involved in knitting them together while still in the womb.  We understand how this process works in very exacting and scientific terms today, but this does not diminish God’s involvement or make it any less amazing.  In fact, understanding more completely the sheer intimacy and detail that goes into the creation of a person makes it all the more amazing.  God’s work in the detail of forming individual proteins and cells as the library of DNA is read and transcribed is simply mind-blowing.

What’s more, God has a plan for each life He creates.  Every single one of them.  We don’t know it, and we may not understand it, but He has a plan.  The life growing inside the womb is not a potential life or a potential human, but a human life with incredible potential.

The implication here should be abundantly clear.  To end this life chemically or surgically is wrong.  It is an act of murder.  It is to cut short God’s plans before they have a chance to unfold.  As followers of Jesus and citizens of the kingdom of the God who creates all life, we simply cannot support this practice in any form or under any circumstances.

But, our opposition to abortion must go beyond merely that to an active advocacy for life.  We need to start by proclaiming the truth that our sexual choices can have long-term consequences in defiance of our culture’s delusional embrace of radical, no-consequence sexual liberty.  We should work to create a new cultural climate that celebrates the increasingly culturally radical decision to practice celibacy until marriage. We must seek to care for expectant-mothers who are struggling to make ends meet.  We should be active in providing care and aid to new mothers and fathers who are struggling to adjust to the weight of the new reality they are facing.  We should be involved in adoption advocacy, even taking up the challenge of fostering or adoption ourselves if God calls us to it.

We should also be ready to minister the grace, forgiveness, and acceptance of Christ to women who have made the awful choice of abortion. Many make it under the false premise that it will be an emotionless decision no different from any other kind of elective surgical procedure only to discover to their horror a whole tidal wave of guilt and regret and depression and anxiety and the like.  Abortion may be an awful, sinful decision, but it is not an unforgiveable sin by any measure and these women need the love and care of the church, not judgment and derision.

We serve the God of life.  If we are going to do so truly and consistently, abortion is something we must oppose at every corner.  Indeed, in the nearly five decades since Roe v Wade an entire generation–more than 55 million–of lives have been ended in the U.S.  Our current abortion laws are among the most extreme in the world putting us in the company of the likes of China and North Korea.  We cannot stand for this.  Life is too precious a gift to see it squandered.  You and I and everyone else in the world are unique creations of a loving God.  Let us seek to honor this fact in all that we do.

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