A Soul Growing to Know Well

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.

I remember sitting at a Women’s Conference many years ago and hearing this verse read and the admonition to echo it sank from my ears to my heart. The truth immediately elicited an emotional reaction. Tears burned the sides of my face as I tried to swallow and fight back the kind of cry one would rather take place in private. The thought that my body was fashioned to house my soul for those moments— for the years behind and ahead— made me marvel. The complex systems humans strain to understand, from the structure of skin on the outside to the minute hormonal, cellular processes on the inside, are apologetic arguments in and of themselves. Even with the presence of wonder in what it means to be intimately created by a loving Creator, in His image no less, the thought still brought a deep measure of sadness.

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.

Today, I feel much the same. For the past year, my thyroid, or what is left of it, has (at best guess) ceased to function. It is amazing that a gland so small can control so many vital functions! It has taken months to get me to a place where I am getting some answers. Some of those answers have come with a new set of questions. I do have a new doc— one with a medical degree, twenty years experience in internal medicine, as well as a degree in functional medicine. I feel like I am in a tunnel looking for the light at the end. I am sure it is there, I am just not sure how long until I can see it.

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

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I have been unable to do some of the things I love— including writing! My brain has been foggy, a term I had heard but had not experienced. It is a thing.

O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.

I generally don’t wrestle with symptoms of problems. This, along with a myriad of odd health issues peppered throughout my life and particularly in the last year, forces me into a head-on confrontation of the realization that this body is not made to live forever. The questions that most often permeate my thoughts are ones around trusting that God, who made me in fear and wonder, did so under the weight of the fall. As 40 approaches in the next couple of years, it seems this is the magic age for more to go awry. But even as I grieve the loss of taking my energy level, dietary freedom, and less dependence on interventions for granted, I am reminded of the mercy behind the misery of it all.

I was recently teaching through Genesis 1-3 again with a gal who will soon be married. As I walked through the drama of scripture:

{the admonition given to Adam about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, his communication to Eve about the command, their fall into sin, the consequences for all mankind, the curses to follow, and most importantly thread of hope that runs ahead of the brokenness foretelling crushing of the serpent’s head and the sacrifice that allowed for the covering of the naked and ashamed couple}

the phrase that always stands out to me, left unfinished, is, “Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—'” First, the differentiation of the two trees is important. Before the fall, eating from the Tree of Life was permissible. Eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was not. Adam and Eve had to be separated from the Tree of Life, lest they live eternally in bodies encumbered by sin. I have read commentators who say that even the thought of that was too much for God to imagine (if I may be so liberal in that term), so the sentence is incomplete. They are kicked out of the garden. In a way, it seems a great punishment to leave the place they walked with Him so closely. Yet for their own good, it was a great mercy. The older I get, the more I know that to live is to sin and know that I am a sinner. There is only one way out.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Adam and Eve, forced from the Tree of Life, leave with the wages of sin both in curse and consequence. But they don’t leave naked. They exit clothed in covering provided by the death of another— animal skin.

It seems terrifying to know that God knows all my thoughts— my anxieties and worry, desire to know and control everything, and all my attempts to get around suffering— unless the path of repentance and faith is safe. Just as He has searched me, he has made the everlasting way my way by the person and work of Christ.

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. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

Absent fruit from the Tree of Life, my body is beautifully made for a life which will meet an end. Without that knowledge, I may have never begun to wrestle with what comes next! I find it no mistake that the psalmist says “my soul knows” the Lord’s works are wonderful. My body cries, “What in the world is happening here?!” My soul knows it well— while flesh is wasting away, my soul is being renewed day by day. A growing knowledge of my dependence on the Lord has been and continues to be a source of life. There are many good gifts that delay and help, but they are only temporary. It is going to take my lifetime for me to shift my gaze away from looking for the cure apart from the work of Jesus on my behalf. It doesn’t mean that the wasting away part doesn’t absolutely stink! Sometimes it is absolutely terrible. Sometimes it physically hurts. There is no diminishing those facts. But the promise remains that God is continuing to turn my eyes from temporal things to the eternal. And isn’t that the struggle— to see all things in light of what He has done and is working to do. He is unmaking my body to make me His forever. My eternal body will work properly! The days of deteriorating will not last forever.

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Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 

Until then, I am so thankful for a doc who is working so hard to help me. I feel hopeful that God will use him and his expertise to get a handle on my hormone levels! I am comforted when I remember that God has always cared for me by way of many means and promises to continue be with me. I am so grateful for each moment I can sing and dance, move and breathe, think clearly, and all the things that have suddenly become difficult! I also find rest in the Gospel— that Jesus gave His life so that I may live. He is my complete covering. The Spirit meets me and seals my soul. ~Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief~

You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

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All that said, please pray for me. This has come at an interesting time! Our dossier is now in the hands of the folks in Haiti. Now, we wait to be matched with our children. I can’t help but wonder if this timing allows for some gained stability before we travel to meet our Haiti babies. I pray that my needs are met with daily bread, sustaining strength, courage, and most of all, faith in the finished work of Jesus.

scripture reference, Psalm 139; Genesis 1:9, 2:16-17, 3:2-3,6-7, 14-19, 21-22; 2 Cor. 4:16 

 

 

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