uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my
lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word
in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me
behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful
for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit?
or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art
there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of
the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy
hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness
shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth
not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are
both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me
in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully
made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My
substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously
wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance,
yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in
continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How
precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If
I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am
still with thee. Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me
therefore, ye bloody men. For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine
enemies take thy name in vain. Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and
am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect
hatred: I count them mine enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me,
and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in
the way everlasting. Psalms 139:1-24
The song of your presence. I memorized the first twelve in high school, stirring the words around and around in my head until they were mixed throughly with my soul. Lucky for me. Where would I be if I had left school without them? I packed my bags and headed out into the world at seventeen, just after graduation, sure you were with me, "sitting behind me and before me, and walking all around me." The first year I spent in Brunswick...below the gnat line :) God, I was sure I had made my bed in hell, and there you were.
Later in college, listening to the astutely ignorant, I began to realize that the knowledge of you is so wonderful to me; it is high, I could not reach your wisdom from the college classrooms. Truth was to be found in Your Word alone. My professors were searching for truth, but they had not yet found it.
When they laid my baby in my arms, and I counted each finger, and reveled in the delightful sounds coming from those lips, I marveled because he was fearfully and wonderfully made. The words rolled off my tongue from the Psalm that had become a part of my chemistry, my makeup.
Just off the coral reef of Kenya, snorkeling in the ocean, I saw all the colorful fish, shells, and living things you had created, and remembered these words..."If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea." Or was it the wings of a jet, and the depths of the Indian Ocean?
Waking up in the recovery room after surgery, waiting on the doctor to be found to sign the unsigned orders for the morphine he had ordered, everything in me begged for those words, but my brain couldn't produce them. Lost in pain, and unable to see what was going on around me, I asked for someone to read me the Bible. They found "George" who knew some of the Lord's Prayer, but had never heard of Psalm 23, and certainly not 139. It didn't help. I was beyond comfort, because I couldn't see the words in my head. Satan stole the words in those hours of anesthesia. Betty the home visit nurse came to change my bandages. I was in a fog. But, I asked her to read the Psalm for me. As she read those words from my Bible, I marveled that I had awaken in pain, trying to remember those words, for when I awake from surgery, "I am still with you."
Now God, as I look back through these words, words that have comforted me for 30 years, I realize one thing. You know me. You have searched my heart. You who has held my central nervous system (my reins) in the palm of your hands, You know me better than I know myself. And, even when I can't remember the words, I know you will remember me.