Maybe your teacher wrote it on your algebra test once.
Maybe you’ve said it in a formal “very good, Sir” sort of way.
But have you ever believed it was spoken over you?
Very good. This was God’s view of His creation story after He’d woven humans into it. In a world that uses awesome to describe cheeseburgers, the meaning of very good gets a little lost. Let’s find it. Are you game? Because these two simple words might upend everything you ever thought about God. Or yourself. Or both.
Before we get to very good, let’s take a quick trip through garden-variety good.
On day one, God split darkness with light. He authored and altered science. He spoke and the electromagnetic spectrum sprung to life. And He saw it was good.
On day two, He split the sea with land. “This far you may come and no farther,” he commanded the proud waves. Hydrogen, oxygen, salts and sulfates obeyed. And He saw it was good.
Aquamarine life, good.
Botanical life, good.
And atmospheric science? I’m stepping out of sequence, but let’s take this one in for a sec. Scientists describe our 93-million-mile distance from the sun as being in the Goldilocks Zone — close enough to be warm, but not so close we burn. Our temperature is just right for water, for life, for us. We’re on a ball spinning 1,000 miles per hour, protected by the Earth’s electromagnetic field, and thriving in the exact composition of atmospheric gases required to support the breath in our lungs. And God saw it was good.
Good. Just another day at the office. It’s the understatement of all time. Or maybe not, because good may be a table setter for very good. Up until Day 6 — as mind-blowing and exact and exquisite as creation is — nothing had been made in the image of God. He saved that for last. He saved that for us. He hard-wired into us a capacity for intelligence, holiness, righteousness and eternal life. Only then did He look at all He’d made and call it very good. May we savor the wonder in that.
To be fair, I’m not giving good it’s due. The word actually reaches back to excellent in the Hebrew. Meanwhile very in the Hebrew means muchness, force, or abundance. God’s thoughts about his handiwork sound less like a domesticated “very good” nicety, and more like excellence with force and in abundance and with muchness. I think that’s my new favorite word. I think that’s my new favorite prayer for people struggling to find their worth.
Psalm 139:14 sharpens the point with a description of God’s craftsmanship and intentions: We are fearfully and wonderfully made. In the Hebrew, fearfully means “to cause astonishment and awe of.”
Do you see the implications of being made in His image? It sounds breathtaking. It sounds like something God is pleased with. It sounds like the only thing that matters. It sounds awesome.
He strung our double helix DNA together to carry the complexity of our code. He wired our brains to control dozens of automatic functions while we work and talk and play. He equipped our hearts to beat 115,000 times a day.
The one thing He didn’t automate was whether we would thank Him for it. Whether we would worship Him. Whether we would respond.
God. Calls. You. Very good. What would happen if we believed that? What would happen if we walked in that? We don’t have to compare our babies or our bodies or our bank accounts to find our worth. We don’t have to chase anything. He made us to astonish.
The heavens are telling the glory of God. But we’re the only ones who in some mysterious indelible way bear the image of God. And it’s very good. These two simple, outrageous words can cause us to shed every insecurity about our appearance, every lie about our worth, and every single uncertainty that holds us back from living free of comparison and full of joy.
Very good can cause us to walk with power into our purpose. Very good can remind us of what’s true: That God is pleased with what He made. Very good can assure us that He put us here at this time and in this place to reflect His image. Let’s walk in that. Because the alternative is like Monet’s water lilies telling the Impressionist he painted them too flat. Or The Thinker telling Rodin that he got his biceps all wrong.
Could we quit worrying about our proportion?
Could we quit trying to Instagram our good side?
Could we stop starving ourselves to fit into size 4s?
Could we quit Jonesing for a job promotion we don’t even want?
Could we stop wondering whether we’ve worked hard enough or looked good enough or mothered perfectly enough?
Could we stop living like we’re fearfully and wonderfully lame?
He calls us very good. That should rock our world. That should overwhelm us. That should take us to a deep, settled space where we’re OK with who we are — because we understand whose we are.
Tarnished self-image and attempts to measure up become scratchy security blankets that are easier to reach for than courage or confidence or real life change.
But Romans 9:20 gives us a nudge. “Who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Masterpieces wouldn’t dare. Why do we? God tamed the waves. He can tame your insecurities, too. But it starts with embracing that you are made in His indescribable image.
He dreamed you up. You’ve never been unseen to the God who sees. You’ve never been ugly to the God who knit you together. He’s loved you all your life. I just thought you should know.
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