“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
Marvellous are thy works.”
(Psalm 139:14, KJV)
Have you ever thought about what a complex creation you are? In our technology-driven age, there is a temptation to look down on our humanity in comparison to computers and the increasing presence of artificial intelligence.
But one good look at yourself can begin to tell you that you are “wonderfully made.” Look at the intricacy of your face and body. The human body has 206 bones, and just one foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles! And that’s just the tactile part of the body. When we look inside, deeper and deeper, we find over 35 trillion cells, with each cell containing over 100 trillion atoms. Those atoms are composed of subatomic particles such as protons, and even those are composed of elementary particles called quarks and hadrons. In time, I’m sure we’ll find out what’s inside a quark!
My purpose here is not to give you a lesson on biology, but to show that you are just as complex as any technological triumph out there – and actually more complex. You have the ability to decide between right and wrong, a faculty for moral judgment; you have imagination, the capacity to think of and understand the abstract; you can appreciate the beauty of this world and envision the beauty of the next. God, with his ultimate knowledge and his expert hands, created beings that are infinitely complex in mind and in body. As the psalmist says, “Marvellous are thy works”!
I mentioned that our digital age can make us feel inferior, but so can the human tendency to compare ourselves to others. Human culture, especially in the United States, is very competitive and hence addicted to making comparisons. From a very young age, we start judging ourselves by comparing ourselves to those around us. Even before our adolescence, we have forgotten that we are “wonderfully made,” and lose the appreciation for what we are. This has devastating effects on our self-esteem.
Instead, when we look at ourselves, we should be using an attitude of appreciation. We should be saying, as the psalmist says, that we are wonderfully and fearfully made. That is, in the vocabulary of the King James Bible, “I’m impressively made. I’m astonishingly made. In fact, I am so astonishing that machines should be afraid of how well I am made.” As a human being, you are not just an advanced animal, or inferior to a computer – you are God’s finest creation!
And make sure to thank him. As the verse states at the beginning, “I will praise thee.” It may have been some time since you thought about all your good qualities, especially your health, which we often take for granted amidst all the urgencies of modern life. But also, how well do you take care of the body that you have been given? Do you take care of it in a way that shows thanks and praise to God? Think about a really thoughtful and expensive gift that you have received. You wanted to take extra-special care of it, showing your appreciation for the gift and its value, didn’t you? Make sure to do the same with your body. Most of us know what a reasonably healthy diet is. With something as complex as the human body, we need to give it the best food we can. Find the healthiest diet that you can afford, and which still enables you to look forward to eating. In time, you will learn to look forward to meals because they are healthy, and the food will taste even better.
Let’s also look at what you put into your mind. Do you watch shows that make you angry, such as political talk-shows? Or shows that make you feel bad about your life? Finally, do you watch too much news? The news is deceptive. It calls itself reality, while its only goal is to make you so panicked that you will watch more of it and become easier prey for advertisers. Simply put, the news is addictive and depressing, which makes it just about the worst thing to feed your mind.
Both your mind and your body need exercise, and on a regular basis; both need rest, with silence and stillness; and both need to be ingesting the right things and avoiding the wrong ones. Just as you would be proud to show a friend the care you took of a gift she gave you, take such good care of your body and mind that you are proud for God to see them. And what does God do when he sees how well you treasure his gifts? He gives you more!
If you enjoyed this article, make sure to check out my new book, Passages for Inner Peace: Finding Joy and Comfort in the Psalms, available in paperback and e-book formats here.