Do you know “full well” who you are? In the busyness, distractions, disappointments, and frustrations of everyday life, do you ever forget who you really are? I’m not asking if you ever forget your name. (If this happens to you, you’re probably not able to read a blog post coherently anyway.) My last blog post was about who we are according to 1 Peter 2:9. This week I have been reflecting on Psalm 139 and what it says about who we are, and how well we should know who we are.
In Psalm 139, David reflects on how well God knows him, including how well God knows his very thoughts as well as his words before he speaks them. David stands in complete and utter amazement at God’s knowledge, His presence, His creative ability, and His attention to detail.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14 NIV)
Just like David, we should also be utterly amazed at God’s creative ability, especially the level of creativity He displays in creating us. Take a look at just a few examples of how amazing, and how “fearfully and wonderfully” we are made: our brain capacity, blood vessels, and the number of cells in our bodies.
- My iPhone possesses a memory capacity of 64 gigabytes. According to Scientific American, our brains possess a memory capacity of 2.5 petabytes (or one million gigabytes) of information. Our brains are capable of holding as much information as over 15,000 iPhones. I don’t know about you, but this makes me think I’m not quite using my brain to its full potential.
- The distance around the equator is 24,902 miles. According to the Franklin Institute, if the blood vessels of a child were laid out, they would measure about 60,000 miles, and an average adult’s blood vessels would measure closer to 100,000 miles. This is roughly the equivalent of four trips around the earth’s equator —or 69 round trips from Colorado Springs to Dallas.
- At conception, we are each made up of one single cell. By the time we are adults, the Smithsonian reports that our bodies contain roughly 37.2 trillion cells. I can’t even fathom this number, but maybe this might help to put this humongous number into perspective: Bill Gates is worth approximately $91.5 billion. 37,200,000,000,000 (37.2 trillion) is over 400 times as much as 91,500,000,000 (91.5 billion).
These examples and statistics, although fascinating and mind-boggling, don’t even begin to talk about God’s creative capacity and ability when it comes to our emotions, our own creative abilities, our thoughts and ideas, and our body’s ability to heal itself and to adapt. We are truly “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
However, the phrase that really grabbed my attention this week while reflecting on this passage is when David says he knows “full well” that God’s works are wonderful. What does this mean he knows “full well” how wonderful God’s creation is, including the fearful and wonderful creation of David himself?
Meod is the Hebrew word translated here as “full well” (NIV) or “very well” (ESV). Meod is defined as “very, so, greatly, utterly, i.e., pertaining to a high point on a scale of extent…very greatly, i.e., pertaining to a very high point, even up to a completive degree on a scale of extent” (DBL Hebrew 4394). David is not saying he knows this pretty well, but he knows it to the highest and fullest extent of his own mental capacity.
Can we say that we know “full well,” that we utterly know without a shadow of a doubt, to the highest and greatest extent of our mental capacity that God’s works and His creation are truly wonderful, marvelous, awe-inspiring? Do we stand (or bow) in complete awe of God as the Creator and in complete awe of His creation? It can be very easy to grow complacent and forgetful in the midst of our busy lives and begin to take for granted the wonder and beauty of all that God has created, even in Colorado where the majesty of Pikes Peak stands right outside your window.
And can we say that we know “full well,” that we utterly know without a shadow of a doubt, to the highest and greatest extent of our mental capacity that we are a unique part of God’s wonderful workmanship and amazing creation? Every one of us is created by God as a work of art with a purpose (Ephesians 2:10). None of us is a last-minute throw-together, an afterthought, a mistake, or a “below standard.” God created each of us with a specific purpose that He had in mind before we were even born. King David wrote, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Ps 139:16 NIV). David knew “full well” who he was.
Don’t excuse this verse and say ‘well that was just for King David. Of course God knew the plan for him. He was special. I’m not. I’m just a regular person.’ It is true that we are not all created for the purpose of being the king of Israel and the ancestor of Jesus. Neither did God plan for all of us to function as a Billy Graham, who preached the gospel to 215 million people or a Charles Wesley, who wrote approximately 6,000 hymns. Some of us may have been created for preaching or for hymn-writing, but others were created to fulfill a different assignment. Some are to be more like Ruth Graham, who supported her husband and cared for their children during his ministry or like Susanna Wesley, who raised two sons who became great ministers of the gospel.
Paul describes this variety of plans and purposes in 1 Corinthians 12. We aren’t all created to function in the same way, but all are still “fearfully and wonderfully made.” God may have purposed some of us to function as hands, and others to function as feet or eyes or ears or toes –all according to His plan. “God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be” (1 Cor 12:18 NIV). Whether we are looking at our physical bodies or our planned place and purpose within the body of Christ, the seemingly insignificant little toe is just as “fearfully and wonderfully made” as the hand or the eye or the ear.
Take the time to look around you and be awe-inspired by the incredible variety, complexity, and detail in God’s wonderful works around you. Be assured, and know “full well” that His works are wonderful. Take the time to reflect on how amazingly God created your body, your mind, your soul, and your inner being so “fearfully and wonderfully” and purposefully. Know “full well” who you are: that you are a carefully crafted child of God with a unique plan and a purpose. Take the time to look around you at the incredible variety, complexity, and detail in God’s wonderful plans and purposes for the other people around you and how well we all fit and work together. Be assured and know “full well” that His plans and purposes for His workmanship are wonderful. Know “full well” who you are, and whose you are.