I am writing this THOUGHT just two weeks after having open-heart surgery. The surgery became necessary to repair what was diagnosed as a “birth anomaly.” It seems that while I was developing in the womb of my mother, the vein that returns the oxygenated blood from my right lung should have been uniting with the corresponding vein from my left lung and entering the heart at the left atrium. God, however, directed that vein to enter the heart at the right atrium which only returns the blood to the lungs. Consequently, the oxygenated blood from my right lung never reached the rest of my body, causing me to be short of breath.
Years ago, my condition would have been termed a “birth defect” rather than an anomaly. But I believe the change in terminology is justified. Psalm 139 is a psalm of David that proclaims the infinite knowledge and wisdom of God. The first six verses declare God’s perfect knowledge of David’s activities. Verses 7-12 detail the perfection of God’s knowledge of David’s travels. Then, in verses 13-18, David reflects upon God’s perfect knowledge of David’s body, exclaiming in verse 14, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” But could such a declaration be made in regards to my “anomaly,” or to put it another way, did God make a mistake?
The answer to both questions is a definite NO! Whatever God does, He does for a purpose. There are at least two purposes that God might have in bringing anomalies/trials/tribulations into our lives. The first is to cause us to deal responsively with sin. Saul of Tarsus was heading to Damascus to find those who were called Christians and bring them to Jerusalem, most likely to be killed. Along the way, God struck him blind. God blinded Saul physically so that his spiritual eyes might be opened and that he might see his need for salvation.
In Corinth, there were problems in the worship of the church. At the love feast, very little love was being expressed. The Apostle Paul would write that because of their sin, some were weak, some were sick and some had actually died (1 Cor. 15:30). Sin interrupts our fellowship with God, the very purpose for our creation. Too often we trivialize the consequence of sin. God never does.
The second purpose that God might have in binging anomalies into our lives is to cause us to understand the magnificence of His power and grace. For 68 years I lived with this anomaly, not even knowing it existed. I suffered no restrictions of activity. What is remarkable about that is when the nurses came to wheel me into the operating room, they were remarking that it was miraculous that I was even able to live. God’s grace and power to preserve compensated (and then some) for the anomaly. How often do we take God’s goodness for granted and attribute any accomplishments in life to human ingenuity or strength?
Having contemplated God’s goodness to me in the past, it is much easier to see how He is providing for me in the present. While I still have a long way to go to get back to 100%, the daily improvements are quite noticeable. That gives me confidence for tomorrow, which is the subject of the final six verses of Psalm 139. To paraphrase the conclusion of the psalm, David says to God, in light of the perfection of Your knowledge of me, do whatever is necessary to make our fellowship perfect. I know You do not make mistakes.