By Meg Ferguson
In the grand sea of types and styles of prayers, I’ve found myself at home in
prayerful ponderings. I love to take a virtue (like gratitude) or a specific topic (like suffering) and investigate it from all sides in hopes of clarifying how I can better live out this virtue or gaining some deeper insight into the topic. I could look at Scripture passages or writings of saints that relate to that theme, try to imagine what their lives were like, ask questions, and see what new insights speak to my heart. Usually, I will ponder one topic over days or weeks mulling the idea repeatedly in my head asking for the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. Recently, I’ve been meditating on pregnancy and the mystery of creating new life, and I would like to share my small insights with each of you.
Since I am currently pregnant with my first child, it’s no surprise why the topic of pregnancy has been weighing on my heart lately. My husband and I got married this past December, and we are so blessed to be able to start a family right away! Our little one is due in October, and we just found out it’s a boy. The joy and anticipation that fills this chapter of my life can hardly be put into words!
In my prayers, I find myself focusing on two passages in Scripture over and over again: Psalm 139:13-14 and 1 Kings 19:11-13. In Psalm 139, the psalmist is praising God for his greatness and all-knowing, all-powerful nature saying, “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works!” (Psalm 139:13-14). This passage makes me feel elated and, indeed, wonderfully made, and a little confused. I can’t help but get stuck reading the metaphor of being ‘knit in a mother’s womb.’ I thought to myself as I read, is God like a master knitter? Somehow, the image of God the Father sitting in an old-fashioned wooden rocking chair intently focused on a knitting project made me smile (and laugh a little). But on a more serious note, God is like a knitter who meticulously crafts something beautiful. In Psalm 139:13-14, the beautiful creation God is so focused on is a child in utero. And in this metaphor, the mother is the one supplying God with the yarn, so to speak. That is, a mother provided the raw materials for God to create a new unique and truly awe-inspiring tiny human. God could have chosen to create new life another way, without the contributions of human men or women, but He chooses to work with us. How amazing is that!?! In all pregnant mothers, God, the Creator of All Life, is at work in a special way. But it’s not just pregnant mothers who work with God, fathers, too, are co-operating with God’s creative action.
In thinking about this brief Bible passage, I am reminded that God is not a God who is faraway uninterested in human life, like a divine watchmaker who winds the watch and lets go. God is actively involved in our lives every day! Every breath we take is a gift God personally hands us like a flower picked for a special gift.
In 1 Kings 19:11-13, Elijah recognizes God’s presence in his life. God tells Elijah that he will be passing by, and Elijah diligently waits. A tornado-like wind sweeps by, an earthquake shakes the mountain where he is, and a fire rages on, but Elijah knows God is not present in those destructive powers. Rather, when he hears “a light silent sound,” Elijah recognizes the Lord. When I read this passage, I connect the small gentle sound to the little baby kicks I have only recently started experiencing. God is present in the tiniest wiggle of my little one, and I am filled with joy! I ask myself, ‘How often do I miss the other tiny moments when God makes Himself present in my life (like a phone call or text from a friend, or the kind act of a stranger)?’ ‘How often to I forget to thank God for all that I’ve been given?’ I hope and pray we all strive to see God’s presence working in the everyday moments of our lives.
(Meg Ferguson is the director of campus ministry at St. Joseph Starkville.)