It’s the same every time I go to the bank. The teller looks down at my half-filled in deposit slip and gives me that look. “You still don’t know your account number?” Like a scolded schoolboy I hand over my debit card, “The number’s on here if you swipe it.”
Why do I feel guilty? How many numbers am I supposed to commit to memory? There’s my social security number, my driver’s license number, my permanent resident number, my passport number, the six phone numbers of our immediate family unit, and on and on it goes. Every government department and every utility company I deal with knows me by a number. I’m not a person … I’m a statistic.
What a blessed relief to know that it’s not so with God. It’s quite stunning really to think that the lady at the post office only knows me as a postbox number, but the most important entity in the universe, the most powerful and beautiful Being in all existence, the One around Whom everything else revolves, knows my name.
Even more than my name, he knows every detail about me. The number of hairs on my head (stop laughing!) Every memory that I struggle to recall. He knows my every thought even as it is being formed within me.
This verse in Psalm 33 says that God deals with each of us as individuals, not merely as unidentified parts of the great whole that is humanity.
This was driven home to me by a sequence of experiences that I had some years ago. While we were living in Tasmania, my wife and I took our kids and visited the Cadbury chocolate factory. Not exactly like Willy Wonka’s – no chocolate river – but pretty cool anyway.
The thing I will never forget about it was watching their “quality control” workers. On every production line were staff members watching rows of thousands of chocolates come down a conveyor belt, looking for any flaw; some defect in the product or its wrapper. Whenever they spotted one it was pulled out and thrown into huge barrels behind them. Disposed of.
My wife and I, consummate chocaholics, were almost in tears. “It may not be perfect, but it will taste just as good. Don’t discard it – give it to us!”
You see Cadbury are in the business of mass production.
With that image still vivid in my mind, a week later I was visiting my friend, George, who owned an antique store. George was not in the business of mass production. He was a craftsman. He made his living by going to auctions and estates sales, and purchasing unique pieces of old furniture one at a time. He would take them back to his workshop and lovingly, painstakingly restore them to their former glory.
“He fashions their hearts individually.” God is not in the business of mass production either. The Bible describes him as the craftsman, not the corporation. He has the patience to fashion each of us with personal, individual care. He knows your heart – your innermost thoughts – and He cares for you specifically.
He has brought you to where you are today with a purpose for His glory. He has made you unique. The circumstances of your life are superintended by God, and work together to produce in you what God has planned.
Every now and then I get to wishing I were in someone else’s shoes. Someone richer, or more famous, or better looking. But I know that “The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.”
I came across these words from C. H. Spurgeon: -
Suppose the mole should cry out, “How I could have honored the Creator had I been allowed to fly!” It would be very foolish, for a mole flying would be a most ridiculous object; while a mole fashioning its tunnels and casting up its castles is viewed with admiring wonder by the naturalist, who perceives its remarkable suitability to its sphere. The fish of the sea might say, “How I could display the wisdom of God if I could sing, or mount a tree, like a bird,” but a dolphin in a tree would be a very grotesque affair, and there would be no wisdom of God to admire in trout singing in the groves. But when the fish cuts the wave with agile fin, all who have observed it say how wonderfully it is adapted to its habitat, how exactly it’s every bone is fitted for its mode of life. Brother, it is just so with you. If you begin to say, “I cannot glorify God where I am and, and as I am,” I answer, neither could you anywhere if not where you are. Providence, which arranged your surroundings, appointed them so that, all things being considered, you are in the position in which you can best display the wisdom and grace of God.
God is making you uniquely YOU. If you will live for Him, your life will bring honor and praise to Him.
Afraid you’ll only make it so far being yourself? Trust the Craftsman with the whole work. God is able to complete all that He has begun in you. (Philippians 1:6)