Read Jeremiah 1:4-5
4 The Lord gave me this message:
5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart
and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” (NLT)
It is staggering to realise that God knew us not just before we were born but before we were even conceived. Because he is who he is, God can ‘know’ in a way we can’t understand.
This must not be forced so as to assume God has somehow pre-planned all our actions and decisions so we become mere puppets on a string. It simply means that our conception and birth and subsequent life do not take him by surprise. He doesn’t just become interested in us or aware of us when we look like being useful to him.
In Jeremiah’s case, such an insight was a comfort. He was being given a tough assignment: calling the people of God back to their true vocation. He would be opposed and despised. God assures him that he won’t be doing all this on his own and that God has his purposes in those assignments.
We may not be called as Jeremiah was to such a specific or challenging task. But as we are reminded elsewhere in Scripture, God has prepared good works for us to do. He does not micromanage our lives so as to rob us of freedom but he has shaped us in certain distinctive ways so that we have our unique work to do.
And probably of greatest significance: when the Bible speaks of God’s knowing, it is no mere academic acknowledgement of facts. It is about relationship and love. Our God does not pull strings on puppets: he draws us to himself in love.