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; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
I was born with a hereditary nerve disease. The genetic cause is a double expression of what is called the PMP22 gene. In layman’s term, the nerves that run from my neck to my hands and from my lower back to my feet do not repair themselves as they should. God built into our bodies many repair mechanisms but mine are not fully functional. Overtime, as these nerves are not repaired, they slowly lose their ability to function. And as such I am gradually losing the ability to use and control my hands and feet. With that also comes weakness of the muscles involved.
The verses in Psalm 139 speak of a confession made by an individual (the created one) to God (the Creator) – verse 14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
First, the confession speaks of God’s sovereignty. That God is free to do as He so chooses – that God arranged my genes just the way He wanted them. He chose to include the double expression of the PMP22 gene which resulted in my nerves slowly degrading and slowly losing function. He knew as I was being formed in my mother’s womb that as I grew older, I would become weak in the legs and feet and arms and hands. More importantly, He approved of my creation and blessed it.
Second, the confession speaks of God’s sufficiency. It does not really matter how weak I grow in my feet or in my hands. I may not be able to walk without my ankle – foot braces or be able to hold a pencil and to write legibly but God is always there. He has the strength to hold me up. He has ways for me to communicate that I can only image. He has the wherewithal to meet every need I could ever have.
As doctors learn more about the disease, they have begun to acknowledge within some families the disease also impacts the phrenic nerve which controls the diaphragm muscle. So, it is with me. As my diaphragm muscle becomes weaker with time, so my ability to breathe well is waning. And now, I am beginning to see the sufficiency of God in the very breath that I breathe.
Since I was already a Christian when I began to appreciate these verses, my wrestling with God took on a different form. I did not wrestle about why me or why would a good God do such a thing or allow such a thing. God’s Sovereignty, His Plan for my life, I have always accepted. But I wrestle more about trusting His Sufficiency. God knew that in my prideful self, I would rather do things my way. I would rather trust in my ankle –foot braces to stand and walk or use a keyboard to communicate than to lean on God or to allow His Spirit to communicate through me. I would rather find a drug that would make everything right. I believe God gave me this disease for the sole purpose of reminding me of His All Sufficiency and my dependence on Him. Before I was born, God had already ordained every single day of my life. He knows exactly what I need and when I need it. In His Sufficiency, He has already provided for what I need. And I will trust him for my very next breath!
Dear Heavenly Father, we acknowledge that You are the Creator and that we are the created ones. You created each one of us in Your Image and yet we are all created as unique individuals. You have blessed each one of us with strengths, talents, and gifts to be used in the service of your Kingdom. Help us to see and accept Your Sovereignty in creation. Help us to see how You have ordained every day of our lives and at the right time have provided for every one of our needs. Help us to truly trust in your Sufficiency.
– Pat Curran