Reflections on Psalm 139

 

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I always go back to this verse — always find my fingers turning the pages in church, away from the verse displayed and to this verse. I whisper it in my head; I recite it at night; I pray with it; I mourn with it; it comforts me and shelters me. Psalm 139 is both intimate (revealing the relationship between the Father and myself) and vast (displaying God as Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent). It’s a verse I first discovered in middle school when flipping through the pages of the Bible and confused where to start. Now, each time I read it, through each season of my life, it revives new meaning, new comfort, new insight, and further draws me into the Spirit. Here is only a glimmer of reflections — written more as a stream of consciousness than some scholarly analysis:

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.

Both terrifying and uplifting. God knows me so intimately well—even better than I know myself. He knows what truly motivates my actions, what lifts my spirit, what grieves me, and what I need to flourish. None of my ways are hidden to him. Intimacy develops from a relationship, and means that the Father loves me. He watches me, discerners my thoughts. He knows my thoughts from afar, even when I can’t express them—he knows. Within me, the Holy Spirit discerns my thoughts, probes my heart, cries out to God in a foreign language, a language that brought the world into being, that created Adam, the sun . . . life from dust.

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.

The Creator, has laid his hand upon me. The Creator! And although he knows all my ways, knows all my thoughts, has scrutinized my path, knows my words…. I know only a small piece of him. I can only discern him (his love, his creative energies, his wisdom, his grace…) through small slivers of Heaven on Earth—through the Word, through my father’s love and patience, through my mom’s life and energy, through a preacher’s dedication, through my brother’s loyalty, through the sun’s warmth, through the emotional high of love, through the long-lasting covenant of marriage, through the fellowship of believers, through a baby’s first cry, through the majesty of the mountains, through the peace of a river, through the pure songs of birds, through the beauty of flowers… but he is infinitely greater than these. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty 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.

Not only does God intimately know me, but there is nothing I can do or that anyone can do to me to separate me from my Lord. There is nowhere I can hide in my shame, in my guilt, in my pain. God is not absent from me in suffering. No matter if I flee, rise, settle, or hide, he is there hearing my thoughts and calling to me speaking ancient poetry in ancient language to my heart. I find much comfort in this. Why hide? Why run? Instead, I fall face down before him, bringing my cares and worries, my pain and joy.

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. 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.

YOU created me, Lord. Not man, not “chance.” Just as you spoke life into being with the first man, you spoke life into my body—giving me a moral compass, providing me with specific talents to serve your kingdom, certain passions in able to excel. You have placed me here on earth to continue your beautiful story, and placed me in the spot you chose to do your will, if I seek you. Before my parents planned me, before my parents were in love, before the creation of Adam, all my days were written in YOUR book!!! Wow. To think that although I hold only the Bible and only can read about a sliver of your story- YOU have the WHOLE book already written. At least we know the end and the end is “good” just like your creation. Your works are wonderful. And your works reflect your glory, your majesty. You, Lord, are the ultimate Poet, the most talented artist. Everything I see, you envisioned and effortlessly created.

 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.

What an interesting juxtaposition. What does this mean? Was there any reference earlier to being asleep? Why does it come right after counting the grains of sand and reflecting on God’s thoughts? And not only this, but the speaker (David) implies that he is intimate with God’s own thoughts—he describes them as “precious” and “vast.” I do believe God speaks to people, and maybe people may describe it as a dream state—it’s like a voice from a sleepless dream coming into consciousness. For a moment, the world slows and you hear God’s voice, whether as a voice or a feeling… perhaps when we “awake” from this dream, during the periods God is not speaking, David wanted to remind us that God is still there, still listening, still guiding our lives and that his thoughts continue… his vast number of thoughts.

. . . 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.

Doesn’t this scare some of us? Asking God to search us? To test us? What does God see when he looks into my heart? But, there is humility in this desire, in the desire to be an open book. I know what I hope God sees when searching my heart, but do my actions reveal what I claim to believe? Romans 7:21-23 states, “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.” None of us are without evil thoughts, without bitterness, envy, wrath, deceit, and the like. We are human and we are fated to sin, but as Christians, we are perfected and deemed as righteous through Christ before the Father. When coming before the Father on judgment day, he does not see our sin! He does not place a heavy debt on us for our doings on earth – Christ paid our debt. He died so that we might have a relationship with the Father:  thus, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Col 3:1). We are called, therefore, to be set apart, to strive to do good, to think on such worthy things: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

– Kaley –

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An Unexpected Blessing

 

New Parents

Welcome to our new blog! YES! We are expecting!! And we can’t wait to share more with you! We are excited to use this blog as an outlet to share our experiences, our joys, and our struggles. We want to always be transparent here so that others may more deeply get to know our hearts and learn from us as well. To start our blog off with, we’d like to publicly share our wedding invitation letter, the letter that was included in our invite. Later, we wish to share more details about this journey. We are absolutely thrilled to be new parents and can’t wait to share more with you! Thanks for visiting. 🙂

 

February 9, 2014

Family and Friends,

Although many of you are already familiar with our story, we wanted to share it once more as we truly believe in God’s ability to use each story to reveal His love, mercy, and abundant grace. After all, the gospel itself is a compilation of stories that together reveal the Father’s character and ultimate plan, a plan that continues in our stories today. Our story is also one that is very important in the timing of our marriage and in the incredible journey of faith God has taken us on.

Kaley and I met almost a year ago at our current church shortly after I moved to Oklahoma. We went on our first date as friends in June of 2013 and after many more dates, prayers over God’s purpose, and getting to know each other’s hearts at Bible study, we officially became a couple November 10, 2013. We both knew early on that we were moving toward marriage, and by December I knew I wanted to start having conversations with Kaley about engagement, but I desired to wait before doing so. In mid-January, however, God changed the course of our lives forever when we discovered that Kaley was pregnant.

The news came as a shock to both of us, but after being both convicted and humbled by the Holy Spirit we immediately decided to be open with our mistake and go to our family and church community.  We were very fearful to speak with them at first, paralyzed with shame and guilt, but once we did we were met with much grace, love, humility, and kindness. While they did not affirm our sin, they were very quick to remind us of Christ’s gospel of grace and how He came and died for not only our sin but for the sins of the world! We were reminded by them that the gospel is placed in our lives not to burden believers in overwhelming guilt and shame, but to free us in what Christ did on the cross! When we are truly repentant and turn from our sins, God is able to create a beautiful story and use it for His glory! We were also comforted and at peace knowing that we did not surprise God with a child, but God already knew our child, made provision for our child, and had a plan and purpose for him or her before the beginnings of the world (Psalm 139).

After gaining much counsel from our friends, family, and pastor, Kaley and I decided to get married sooner rather than later, a decision we feel is best for each other as well as for our child. Although our child influenced the timing of our marriage, our vows to each other are dependent on our love for one another and desiring to make a life-long commitment to love one another, serve one another, and lead each other closer to the Lord. We both are blessed to have had wonderful examples of marriage in our lives with our parents, family, and friends and look forward to creating our own story together in marriage.

Kaley and I would be more than honored for you to share our story with us by being a witness to our commitment to each other in the sacred vows of marriage before our Lord.

Sincerely,

Tucker and Kaley