“For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand.” Psalm 139:13-18a
“The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
When I first moved to Kitgum Uganda, I helped coordinate a sponsorship program and went several times a week to a school for the disabled. There were many children disabled here due to disease, war, and lack of nutrition. I loved spending time with them. They were the sweetest, most affectionate and appreciative children. Deaf, blind, physically handicapped, and mentally challenged beauties were all lumped together.
In this culture, being disabled means that there is a curse on your family. If there is something about you that is not “normal,” you are less valuable and not worth their time. A lot of women go through shame when they have children with physical or mental problems. They are encouraged to loosely tie their small children on their backs, then go to the nearest river to wash clothing and “accidentally” let them fall into the water and drown. They believe that their blood will not be on their hands, so it will be okay to do that. (This sounds perhaps very barbaric to your western mind, and indeed it is; but with the slaughter of the unborn in the west, are we any different?) It is a despicable practice. Those who keep their children go through years of hardship, sometimes being rejected by their peers or clan members.
What a blessing this school was, giving them a chance at life and education.
When Jesus walked this earth, the culture was similar. There were certain people that others would not touch or come close to. They had to walk around saying “unclean” to make sure they didn’t contaminate anyone else.
Jesus, however, is no slave to culture.
He is the Creator of the supposedly unclean and those who are deemed mistakes. But God doesn’t make mistakes. He is perfect. His creation is flawless. Every person is worth more than we could ever imagine to the heart of God. In His eyes, we are all valuable of His touch. He takes no more stock in the prayers of kings and presidents than He does in those of the homeless bum who has lost his will to live.
He rejoices at the thought of you.
He sings over you. You’re not subpar, and you’re not a mistake.
Those children at the school for the disabled, the old widow in the US with no one who knows how much she has to offer, the person who has just been downsized from their job, or the one who just feels irrelevant or lost in this world: it is you He sees. It is you He desires to touch.
There’s not something wrong with you. He created You, fearfully and wonderfully. You are His masterpiece.
It doesn’t matter what culture or society or anyone else has to say, because God is the One who lovingly created You and cares about you. What He says is truth, and in light of that truth we can rest knowing who we are, and knowing whose we are.
Subpar? A mistake? No way!
I challenge you this week:Write down the two scripture verses at the beginning of this post, and find others if you’re able! Whenever you feel in any way inadequate or less than someone else, look at those scriptures and remember how very valuable and precious you are.