Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
It is both comforting and mystifying to consider the idea that God knew us before we were formed in the womb.
What do we make of this knowledge?
Eugene Peterson, in Run With the Horses (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press) 1983 says that:
This realization has a practical result: no longer do we run here and there, panicked and anxious, searching for the answers to life. Our lives are not puzzles to be figured out. Rather, we come to God, who knows us and reveals to us the truth of our lives (p.38).
We may trust in God's plan when our own does not work out.
To prove the importance of this idea, consider how egotistical and egocentric it is to suppose that our own plans are what matter. We will be depressed when our plans fail. And if we succeed, or think we succeed, we will be obliged to give ourselves full credit and glory. Too bad our mortal life span is so short-we will scarcely have time to enjoy it. Too bad our friends and neighbours probably do not care if we succeed since they are concerned about their own plans. It is not a pretty picture.
How different it is to be part of God's family, and to acknowledge the supremacy of his plans:
All wise reflection corroborates Scripture here. We enter a world we didn't create. We grow into a life already provided for us. We arrive in a complex of relationships with other wills and destinies that are already in full operation before we are introduced. If we are going to live appropriately, we must be aware that we are living in the middle of a story that was begun and will be concluded by another. And this other is God (p.38).
God knew us in the past, understands us in the present, and will welcome us in the future.
It appears logical, therefore, that a Christian should not be bitter about the past, anxious about the present, or fearful about the future. Peterson recommends the character of Jeremiah to us:
Has anyone lived so well out of such deep reservoirs of dignity and design-no hollow piece of strutting straw!-as Jeremiah? He did it from a base of meditation on the awesome before of his life, and he lived out of this background and not against it (p.44).
Blessings to all and praise the Lord.