God’s mistakes?

Helen Thorne | April 3rd 2014

“It’s my job to correct God’s mistakes”. So says a surgeon in South Korea who specializes in sex-change operations.

There are those who are tormented day and night with an overwhelming conviction that they have been given the wrong body. It’s not a passing phase. Often it starts in early childhood. There’s a deep conviction that they are men not women – or, more commonly, women not men. And the feelings that flood their minds rarely ease.

In the face of such struggles, it’s not surprising some question the basis of their pain. Is the mismatch they experience between body and mind an accident of nature? Is it their fault? Is it a product of society’s dysfunction? Or has God slipped up in their case and simply got it wrong?

Maybe they’re questions we ask ourselves too – though on a smaller scale. I guess most of us are aware that we are far from perfect. Whether that’s having limbs that fail us, senses that are fading, a body shape that falls far outside healthy norms or a personality littered with flaws, we know that we are not as we will one day be. DID God mess up?

I guess it would be possible to give a simplistic answer: no! After all, according to the Bible, God is as far from fallible as it is possible to be. But such a monosyllabic approach is unlikely to satisfy those who feel they have to live in daily discontent. A fuller answer may not satisfy either – but the following 4 points, drawn from well-known Bible passages, stand firm nevertheless:

You were born under God's loving sovereignty. Psalm 139 paints an intimate picture of God knitting children together in their mothers’ wombs. He is involved in every moment of a life and nothing takes him by surprise. If he knows about every sparrow (Matthew 10:29) he certainly knows about every human – no-one slips into being beyond his gaze.

You were not born perfect. There’s a tension here but not an irrevocable one. It’s right to think that we are not all we are supposed to be! God is in control of each child’s formation but the effects of living in a sinful world cannot be ignored. No human being is born without flaws. Every single one of us is tainted by sin and that means we are not as we will be when we reach the wonder of eternal bliss. We are marred by the curse given at the fall (Genesis 3:14-24) – interpersonal relationships, matters of gender are confused – and that is going to continue until Jesus returns. Such imperfection will inevitably bring pain – sometimes enormous pain.

Your call is to restless contentment. When you are following the Lord who loves immeasurably and generously pours grace into your life, a unique way of living becomes possible. God calls us to seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) – and leave all other matters to the periphery. That leads to a life of contentment and discontentment! God longs for us to address the tendencies of our heart that push us to doubt God – he wants us to be constantly dissatisfied with the wayward desires of our inner selves. But he also calls us to a life where we can join with Paul in saying that we can be content in our circumstances no matter how hard they are (Philippians 4:12). It’s not an easy balance to get right. We will all fail from time to time. But the good news is we don’t have to struggle in these areas alone – his Spirit will help us as we learn, groan and persevere and our brothers and sisters in Christ will be there for us every step of the way. No-one pretends that change is easy but with God, it is possible.

One day the tension will be over. The best is yet to come. One day you and I will be perfect and we will feel totally at home in our bodies. The stress of the here and now will disappear when Jesus returns. The picture of Revelation 21-22 is just wonderful and, if you are in Christ, that is your future. There is no such thing as an unhappy ending if you persevere, trusting in the goodness and sovereignty of God.

It’s impossible to be God’s mistake. There are people who struggle – who experience deep, indescribable pain – but they are not the Lord’s rejects. When they come to Christ, they, like us, become his precious children, swathed in love, bathed in mercy, showered with grace and gifts and equipped to persevere until Jesus makes them perfect. And there are no exceptions … That's a message to speak loud and clear to anyone who is wondering if indeed God has got it wrong with them ...


11:54 AM BST on April 3rd
Bless you, Helen - beautiful piece encapsulating the love, compassion and perfection of God and our wriggling and discomfort. Thank you.
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Helen Thorne

Helen Thorne is Director of Training and Resources at Biblical Counselling UK and an experienced counsellor. She formerly worked with London City Mission and has written Purity is Possible, Walking with Domestic Abuse Suffers and 5 Things to Pray for Your City. She attends Dundonald Church in Raynes Park, London.