When As Yet There Was Not One (Psalm 139:16)

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained [for me],
When as yet there was not one of them.

Psalm 139:16

There are quite a few oft-quoted verses in Psalm 139. I don’t know if this is one of them, but it caught my attention this morning.

All of my potential for both good and bad is laid bare before the eyes of God. A co-worker and I have talked several times about quantum theory. There is more than one interpretation of quantum theory or string theory.

One reading has it that every decision spins off a new reality for every available option in that choice. This notion says that in some realities in which I do not currently exist (neither does anyone reading this), I wrote on each of the other verses in Psalm 139 and in some I wrote on other psalms entirely or wrote not at all.

Another reading of string theory has it that every decision I make brings one potential reality into being and destroys the other. So, by choosing to write on Psalm 139:16 this morning, I played my part in creating the reality in which everyone is currently moving along. The notion of my unformed substance is what sends me down this theoretical rabbit hole. If God can look from eternity past and see my entire life played out in every decision I will ever make, then there are two major takeaways that strike me this morning (there may be more, but I’m not going to pursue every possibility).

I will never surprise God. Disappoint? Sure. I can be disappointed that what I know is going to happen does, in fact, happen. But I will not be surprised by it. Likewise God cannot be surprised by any decision I make, but He can be saddened by it and disappointed that I made that particular choice.

I can absolutely trust that He Who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. He Who began the work looked at the entire process — from start to finish — and knows that He will complete the work He has started.

There is one other takeaway that bears note. My decisions matter. Regardless of which reading of string theory is true — if either; it is a theory, after all — my decisions shape my reality and the unformed substance with which God is working. My decisions form that substance a little at a time. If I choose to obey God, my reality; my life is impacted by the positive ramifications of obedience to God. If I choose disobedience, then the opposite is true. God may have all of my days written … in [His] book … when as yet there was not one of them (and He does), but I am living them one word; one letter at a time.

God, please enable me to choose to obey Your voice today. I would like You to be pleased with the text on this day of my life. I know I will never surprise You — not even with bad decisions — but I would like You to be pleased with the choices I make.


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