“You were an idea in God’s mind before you were born,” my wife overheard our 5 year-old granddaughter, Rosie telling Ellie, her younger sister. Ellie had asked where she was at a time before she was born. This may have been an idea Rosie had heard from her mother, but it is nonetheless a profound truth confirmed by God’s Word.
The Lord said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5) The psalmist says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
These words spoken to Jeremiah can also apply to us. We are not a product of chance. We are not the result of some random accident of an evolutionary process. The most important part of our nature – our soul and spirit – was created by God and known by him before our physical nature was born. St. Paul says God “chose us in him before the creation of the world.” (Ephesians 1:4) We are “precious in the sight of the Lord.” (Psalm 116:15)
God loves us even before we come into being. Like a parent’s love for a new baby, he loves us before any of our achievements or failures become evident. When our first daughter was born, I was so full of joy and love that I went directly from the hospital to our church, knelt before the altar and thanked God for this new person who was precious in my sight. I experienced the same level of love for each of our other four children.
Not only does God consider each of us unique, he has a unique purpose for each of us that is distinctly tailored to match the gifts and nature of our being. This purpose includes loving and caring for the people in our lives that we are uniquely suited to love and care for. I believe that God intended for my wife and me to come together and love and care for one another. When we may have appeared to be going different ways, he implanted a course correction in our hearts to fulfill his purpose for each of us. He intentionally gave us specific children and now a larger family to love and care for that has always been a part of his purpose for us.
God’s unique purpose for each of us also includes our work which we are distinctly equipped to do. When I graduated from college, I began to work in the marketing department for an international oil company, but that is not where God equipped me to be. Through another course correction he put in my heart the desire to go back to school and study law, and he gave me a work especially designed for me that served others and thus, him.
Whatever our work, if it is where God wants us to be, it is important to him. It is like a thread in the larger fabric of civilization. Regardless of how small the thread, pull it out, and the fabric is weakened. (See Lester DeKoster, Work – The Meaning of Your Life)
While our pride and sin can frustrate God’s purpose for us, we can take confidence in Paul’s words, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)