Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;”
The Lord specially formed Jeremiah…and each one of us. This word “formed” is the same word God used of “forming” Adam out of the dust of the ground at creation. It is also the word the Bible uses for a potter working at the pottery wheel, forming his bowls and pitchers, cups and plates, and other kitchen ware. Today the raw material comes from our parents instead of the dirt, but our Lord is still intimately involved in the process, carefully, purposefully, artistically forming and shaping us to fit his plans for us.
Even more impressive, he knew us before he made us. Once a child is conceived today, a sonogram may be able to tell you the gender before its birth. It can let you know whether the child is developing normally. But even with this ability to see into the womb, the child we get is still a stranger to us, and there may be some surprises when it is born.
God knew us before our birth. God knew us before our conception. He knew us personally, as his own. He knew that we would need Jesus to save us from sin, just like everyone else. But he also knew our gifts. He knew our strengths and weaknesses. He knew how we were going to fit into his plans, and he knew that we would be just right for the purpose for which he made us.
He more than knew us: “Before you were born I set you apart.” Before we existed he determined that he would save us from our sins. He gave us parents who brought us to church and baptism. Or he sent a friend to tell us about Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. He sent his Spirit into our hearts to make us his own by faith. He set us apart to serve him with our lives.
Even more than this–before we even existed, he so loved us that he had decided to do so. He gave us our special purpose already then. Have you seen the movie The Incredibles? The superhero parents won’t let their superhero children make use of their incredible superhero powers. They are trying to remain anonymous and blend in. Superhero son Dash wonders why he has to hide the fact that he is special. “Everyone is special,” his mother chides him. “Which is just another way of saying no one is special,” Dash complains.
But for those who belong to God by faith, every one of them truly is special. He set us apart for his unique purposes even before he formed our bodies to meet those purposes. From these promises we can be certain that God has made each of us a special–and will display it in ways consistent with our purpose.