The Image of God
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
1O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
3You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.
4Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
7Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
11If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”
12even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
13For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
15My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
17How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
18If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
19Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me!
20They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain.
21Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.
23Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
24And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
This seems a strange choice for a psalm in the midst of a discussion about mourning. But it is not. In this prayer, we see King David acknowledging that God is the author of our lives and that even in our death, He is still in control of us. We are not created by accident or chance, and we do not go down into the grave alone, for He is there. There is not a time in our lives when He is not there. Not only is that true for those of us here today, it is also true for those we love who have passed away before us.
God doesn’t lose track of that which was created in His image. From our conception we hold the image of God as His created beings. We are unique in all of creation in that respect. A simple example of this concept is a leaf. If you look closely at a leaf, you will find a picture of a tree in the veins that form its shape. That little leaf bears the image of its source, the tree. We too bear the image of our Source and as such, we do not ever disappear from His view or His care. Those who have passed before us are held closely in His care even in death, for we cannot be separated from Him except through unbelief. Not the unbelief of doubt that we discussed last week, but the unbelief of the atheist who refuses to acknowledge that there even is a God or refuses to understand that Jesus is their Savior. They will ultimately be separated from God forever by their own choice.
As people who mourn when our loved ones pass, we do not do so without hope. In God’s divine plan, we will see them again and all of those who make up God’s Church will be together throughout eternity. While You were formed in your mother’s womb you were also loved by the God who created you there. That’s true for you and for those who have gone before you. No one slips through the hands of God.