Details Beg Us to Go Deeper

Nine foot tall structure made out of toothpicks that depicts landmarks and significant icons of San Francisco from 1974 to 2011, built by Scott Weaver. Structure has multiple paths that ping pong balls roll down to highlight San Francisco themes and eras.

God didn't simply create water. He created water that expands and contracts when the temperature changes, and sometimes it boils and freezes. He created water with surface tension such that small insects can walk and skim across it. He created water that climbs and moves along various materials through capillary action.

God didn’t simply create light. He created light that carries color to our eyes. He created light with velocity and it physically travels from one point to another. He created light that can reflect off shiny surfaces, refract around objects, bend through glass and water, and offer a rainbow that delivers the promise of God to never again judge mankind with a worldwide flood.

And God didn't simply create the stars of this post: the puffer fish.* He created them wtih the instinct to produce visually stunning topography on the sea floor. It's an intentional, precise topography with long term, beneficial ramifications.

Cute emoji-like image of a puffer fish

[Use these links to see this amazing topography and how it is created.
I don’t have the rights to show them here.]
Images      Video

     In 1995, diver Yoii Ookata discovered these strange, yet beautiful sand formations 80 feet below the surface near semi-tropical Amami Oshima, a small southwestern island of Japan. They appeared and disappeared, and nobody knew how they came to be.

     Ookata called his 7-foot-wide find a “mystery circle.” An outer portion boasted pronounced, symmetrical ridges. The inner area had shallow channels carved in peculiar harmony. It was tranquil. Ookata didn’t know until later observation that this engineered masterpiece was crafted by a puffer fish.

     Puffer fish are a Japanese delicacy, but on the sea floor, they are free to express their artistry. They flap their fins day and night to shape the sand, and they decorate the outer ridges with broken seashells – shells they find and crack themselves.

     This aquatic showpiece is created only by the male puffer fish, so, you guessed it, it is designed for courting and nesting. The 5-inch male labors tirelessly for 7+ days to develop his masterpiece.

     Females notice and inspect the works of art. Some may come and go, but when one stays, the magic resumes. Look out ocean. Here come the baby puffers! The female is content with a fitting place to lay her eggs: the inner, placid circle. Then the male fertilizes them.

     The outer area, with its pronounced ridges, slows water currents by 25%, giving the eggs a safe place for vital, early life stages. And the seashells probably provide nutrients to the little ones.

     So, the male puffer fish is a highly sophisticated nest developer. The design is masterful. The execution, flawless.

[Story references: on Spoon & Tomago and on LiveScience]

Cute emoji-like image of a puffer fish

While we’re amazed at this natural wonder, it’s not just a visual feast. It is a necessary process in the life cycle of a puffer fish.

But it didn’t occur by chance. A puffer didn’t just decide one day that he’d try a new design for a nest. No, all puffer males manifest this design instinctively. I know this because scientists didn't find any other types of nests, and God is their Creator, just as He is ours. He designed our procreation process, too. In fact, He designed more than we can imagine because He cares for us and created us in His image.

How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
 How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

Psalms 139.17-18

God is intricately involved in our lives.

He designed the elaborate courting and nesting wonder of the puffer fish, and countless ways and means of other animals and insects. We’ve seen numerous animal kingdom miracles captured on video and we’ve heard volumes of stories retold by experts. So many stories about so many species.

How many details He must know about us!

How many details He designed in us!

How He must want to be near to us!

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well

Psalms 139.14

Psalm 139 is a psalm of praise and awe, but the author David also asked God to lead him in the right direction (verses 19-24). Here are two truths David acknowledged and counted on before he made this plea to God.

Cute emoji-like image of a puffer fish

1. God is acutely aware of who we are and what we do.

Let’s imagine ourselves as baby puffer fish. Imagine God knowing about every ridge daddy puffer would carve and where every seashell would rest. He is aware of every speck of sediment that would become the nesting ground of mama puffer’s eggs - our nesting ground! He knows how many eggs, where they would lie, and how long they would gestate after fertilization. He knows every detail of each and every one of us: how each of our gills, fins, teeth, and eyes would form, whether we would be male or female, and how each of our tails would emerge from our eggs.

God knows us to the smallest of details.

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;

you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;

you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”

even the darkness will not be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalm 139:1-14

God made us who we are, knitting the person-by-person fabrics of our intellects, emotions, abilities to reason and function, character traits, physical qualities, talents, and capacity to relate to God Himself. He paid attention to every detail. He knows where we go. He knows where we hide. He even knows what we will say before we say it.

Since this is true, as David knew “full well,” God surely had more in mind. And He does.

Picture of boy looking out into beautiful Lake Tahoe. Image bears the following phrase: I imagine God recites the pages of my story as He watches my life transpire, for His thoughts toward me are more numerous than the grains of sand. Psalm 139

2. God is managing every detail of our lives.

Read on in Psalm 139

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

Psalm 139:15-18

The puffer fish manifested God’s miraculous works according to His design. We can do the same. God wrote our biographies and they include each day of our lives - even every emotion. I imagine He recites the pages of our stories as He watches our lives transpire, for God’s thoughts toward us are more numerous than “the grains of sand.”

When we realize God wrote our stories – that He knows what we will think, and what we will do – we might shrink with trepidation. But David considered it “precious.” The vastness of God’s involvement in our lives should direct us deeper into His arms. David wanted more of Him.

Desiring deeper intimacy with God, David abhorred wickedness (Psalm 139:19-22). He wanted nothing to do with it, but, knowing his tendency to sin and to wander, he asked God to lead him into righteousness.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24

David’s psalm of praise is ultimately a cry for help – a plea for God to change his sinful heart and lead him as He saw fit.

Cute emoji-like image of a puffer fish

  • Should we fear God’s presence?
  • Should we hide from His sovereign hand?
  • Or shall we rest comfortably in His arms, knowing his correction is for our good?
  • Do we want to please Him?
  • Are we ready to live the biography He wrote for us and rely on Him to lead us through it?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.

God knows who we are and what we do.

He manages every detail of our lives.

*There are many species of puffer fish and reproduction processes vary among species. The species described in this post are white-spotted pufferfish, not to be confused with the white-spotted puffer. Read more on Wikipedia (

Cute emoji-like image of a puffer fish

If you want to discuss the biography God wrote for you and how to have a deeper relationship with Him, please email me at

Read more blog posts here.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


  1. Rough morning. I know the day will still have challenges but I am resting in Him and His comfort and peace.

    1. Sorry to hear that things are rough, Melissa, but glad to know you find comfort, peace, and rest in Him. What a wonderful and compassionate God we serve. He knows us and carries us.

    2. Thank you Stephen. Just a rough start to the morning. The enemy was trying to annoy me but that won't happen. God is filling my heart with love and blessings. :-)

    3. That is good news. Our intimate God sustains us!

  2. I really enjoyed reading this! What a great reminder of God's sovereignty over ever sphere of life. I pray I will always choose to rest comfortably in His arms.

    1. Yes, Beth. It's amazing how much God has created and designed in living beings, that which we we call nature, and the laws of science that hold everything together and affect life. And He is Lord over it all, so the best place to be in in His arms.

  3. How amazing and awesome is our God! This small, yet huge bit of information about puffer fish just causes me to wonder what other mysteries we still have to discover. There's a whole world out there, and it all testifies of the Creator.

    1. I was wondering the same thing as I wrote this post, Dottie. Every now and then we hear of another amazing discovery, yet God created them all. I'm sure there are many wonders we will never discover.

  4. This is EXCELLENT. The intricacies you describe above are only the tip of the infinite amazing wonders of God's vision. He crafted us, knit us together from nothing. It is such a comfort to know this! Thank you, Stephen.

    1. God's creation is so amazing. It is infinite in as far as we can see with a telescope and with a microscope. We used to think there is nothing smaller than protons and neutrons. Now we think the smallest particle is a quark. What's next? Praise God for creating us in His image and that we can have a relationship with Him.

  5. Thanks Brother for this encouraging and challenging Post, I have stepped into a new season this year and my goals are to dig deeper, connect with like minded Brothers and Sisters, reach the lost and be a pleasing aroma to the Lord. Great Post, God Bless!

    1. This is good to hear, Stephen. God created so much. I think His Word is very similar. There is so much truth to discover the deeper and deeper we study and the more and more we seek Him. God bless you as you continue to dig.

  6. Thanks for the wonderful encouragement. Your words spoke to me especially this week after spending time in some of our national parks. Seeing how God uses water to chisel away mountains into our Grand Canyon. And this same God loves me, knows me and cares for me is more than I can understand. Thank you

    1. Yes, the awesome Creator of everything cares deeply for us as individuals. That is simply mind-boggling. His design in everything is also mind-boggling. He is truly amazing.

  7. Stephen, you captured me in the introduction in how you said, "God didn't simply create...." Even if God had simply created something without all the fine details, it would be awesome. But to think He is so creative as Creator that He created with such detail and intricate facets. Just like the puffer fish and just like us! I'm so thankful that what God creates, He also manages!

    1. Amen! God is awesomer than awesome! (Hmm... Sounds like the makings of a poem.) All that God has designed is mind-blowing. Just understanding a little about how our bodies work is way beyond my imagination. But He doesn't let go - never stops managing - always works His way through us.

  8. Love, love, love how you began this post, how you ended it, and everything in between.
    Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Ava. God cares so much that He designed all the details and He manages our circumstances. He deserves all praise and honor.

  9. What an awesome God we serve! I just love remembering how God cares about the details of our lives. And I really enjoyed how you pointed out God didn't just create water or light, but rather He created all the details that go along with them. That is a beautiful reminder that He didn't just create us, but He created us with all our details in mind!

    1. Yes, Emily. God created us with details in mind. He even designed it all before anything was created, then He just spoke... Wow.And not only that, He wrote our stories before we were born. All of them. How awe-inspiring is that for us as writers?

  10. Psalm 139 is one of my favorites! I use it a lot in my ministry to addicts and alcoholics to remind them how beautiful and valuable they are to the Father. Thanks, brother, for reminding me of this truth about myself! It's always easier to believe it about others.

    1. What an inspiring Psalm for addicts and alcoholics. Even their stories of substance abuse are known by God along with the story of redemption through His Son that includes healing and abundant life. And, of course, He has written our own stories, too - our own redemption stories and paths to run our races for His glory.

  11. It's so wonderful to ponder that He knows us better than we know ourselves. We spend our whole lives figuring out who we are. But He already knows more than we ever can. Thanks and God bless!

    1. That's amazing to think about our spending all our years figuring out who we are yet we will never know as much as God already knows. Interesting perspective. Thank you for reading and making me think.


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