God is an incredible artist, and I love capturing his work in photos, as you can see on this site. Whether it’s vibrant streaks of orange and purple that paint the night sky or white crystals of ice forming an intricate lace blanket for a leaf, I often look to nature when I want to see God’s creativity on display.
But God’s glory is found in many other places too, and one of them is right in front of you — in the mirror, actually. Recently, I had the opportunity to teach at my church’s college Bible study, and I shared a message from Psalm 139, one of my favorite psalms. It is a song by David that is meant to be sung. (We know that because he gives instructions to the director of music.) It starts off like many other worship songs we’re familiar with — first, praising God that he is all-knowing and then praising God that he is present everywhere.
David’s song takes a strange turn in verses 13 and 14, when he praises God for… are you ready for it… himself! He says, “I praise you God because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14a). I don’t know about you, but I’ve never written a praise song like that: “I praise you God, for me. Just look at me! What a masterpiece you have made!” But David did.
Unlike David, when I look in the mirror, I tend to only see what is wrong — all the things I don’t like about myself. My nose. My eyes. My teeth. How annoyingly shy and introverted I can be. How easily I can slide into depressive or anxious thoughts. There is so much “wrong” I see about me that I often forget that I’m a creation of God, a person whose DNA was stitched together by God himself in my mother’s womb. Every last adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine is right where God planned for it to be. My hair color. My body type. My personality. My passions. My life. It was also handcrafted by the Master Artist. I’ve got designer genes!
You and I are wonderfully made because we have a wonderful Maker, but don’t we forget that all the time? This week’s newspaper contained some shocking statistics. Over the past three years, more than 320 people have taken their own lives on the Treasure Coast. Every 17 minutes, someone commits suicide in our country. It’s one of the leading causes of death among young people like the ones I spoke to at our church’s Bible study. And that breaks my heart — God’s masterpieces hating themselves to the point of death.
This video clip breaks my heart too. What you see below is a clip from the documentary, “Thin.” It profiles several women as they struggle with eating disorders.
When I think of Psalm 139, I think of this person. I think of people at war with eating disorders. I think of people who are contemplating suicide. I think about normal, everyday students trying to navigate life while starving for love, sitting in the dark, staring into the sterile white light of their phones, waiting on someone, anyone, to like their latest Instagram picture or send them a Snap. Waiting on someone to notice them, to give them hope that they’re worth something, to teach them that they’re lovable and loved.
To that person, please read Psalm 139 today. Hear God speak truth to you. You are loved intensely and passionately every second of every day by a perfect Father. Your life is no accident. You may have been a surprise to your parents, but you were no surprise to God. You may have been unwanted, but the God of the Universe wants you. Your birth may have been unplanned, but God planned for you — not just your birth but every single day of your life. David says in Psalm 139:16-19 that all his days were written in God’s book. Your entire journey is laid out by God too, and when you need strength, he is there to walk the path with you.
You’re wonderfully made because you have a wonderful Maker, and you display that Maker’s glory even more than the autumn leaves or snow-covered mountains. You are made in the image of God — something no other part of creation can claim. And God sent his Son to die for you, displaying the riches of the glory of his grace through you. What a masterpiece God is creating in you and me!
Next time you hear a praise song, remember David’s praise song in Psalm 139: “I praise you God for… me.” Thank you, God, for the masterpiece of your creation. Thank you for the beauty you’ve placed all around us. Let us not miss the beauty in ourselves as well.