(At a recent retreat, I wrote a paraphrased version of Psalm 139 as a form of contemplation. This painting is by Hilary Sylvester at Baruch designs.)
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast are the sum of them!”
You’re paying such close attention to me! You know every detail: my morning alarm (and the snooze button), bedtime, every thought, every action, every motivation; not just my words, but even my impulses. You’re in front of me and behind me, touching me as I go about my business. (How can I so easily forget Your presence when You’re so close?). It’s unfathomable to me. As I write, I know that I can’t truly capture the depth of Your presence with me at all times.
Is there some way for me to get away from You, to be totally alone and forsaken? No! I’m NEVER alone. However high I go, You’ll be there; and however low I go, You’re there too. It’s not You who ever distances Yourself from me, but me who ignores You. If I fled to the most remote place, Your guidance would be most available to me. Jesus would be holding me in His hands, safe and sound.
I might even want to run away and hide. I might try to obscure my life in darkness. But there is no such thing for You. You can see in the dark! It makes literally no difference to You.
After all, You made me – skin, cells, and bone. When mom was pregnant with me, you were shaping me into the person You had planned. Thank You! My body is miraculous! I am an example of Your stunning creativity. This world is full of beauty because You are The Artist. You know what You have made, so how could anything about me be a secret to You? Even though my own psyche can seem so complicated to me, You understand all the inner workings of my consciousness. When I was just an idea but hadn’t even come into being, You already knew all about me, even the things I would do and what would happen to me.
HOW PRECIOUS TO ME ARE YOUR THOUGHTS, O GOD!
HOW VAST IS THE SUM OF THEM!
There have been times in my life that I didn’t think enough about You to wonder what You think about. Now it seems like the most wondrous of all things to contemplate. I am stunned to imagine that You contemplate Your creation and ENJOY it. That You hover over me like a mother her newborn baby, and simply delight. But Your delight is even more wonderful because You know every detail, every little miracle of the human body and of the human soul. A mother can hardly count all the things she loves about her baby. But what You love about the people You have created is totally beyond counting – especially for us since we don’t even understand what You know, most of the time. We could come to the end of all knowledge, the end of all things, and there would still be You, and we would still be with You.
Contemplating Your goodness and love only makes hate evil more! I wish there could be an end to the silly, human, earthly, fleshly mindset of envy and competition and destructiveness and hate. The only thing I hate is evil itself, because it is the very lack of You! I despise everything that isn’t You or some manifestation of Your will. I despise only rebellion against You and Your perfect Goodness. Look straight into my soul, O God. I’m asking You to! See whether I’m harboring any little bit of love for sin, any deceptive rationalization, any softness towards a wrong disposition. Find it. Drag it out into the light. And burn it. Burn it away like a cancer. Flush it out of me completely. Show me how to go Your way instead.
Show me how to love what lasts.