Psalm 139: Response
A Personal Meditation on Faith
“You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.”
-Psalm 139: 3-4
It is a strange idea, sometimes. To think that someone could know every detail about you, your past, your hopes, your relationships, your character, how much your pancreas weighs, how many E. coli cells reside in your intestines, etc., etc… To be known more intimately than you can ever know yourself, in body, mind, and soul. It’s both frightening and comforting. The sheer vastness of You… There are times that I even find the idea absurd. You are the intelligence that wrote the cosmos. Why would You give a fuck about a single Homo sapiens, one amongst billions, trying to get through college? But then I think, something that big, who’s to say You don’t keep loving track of every atom, every electron and quark that’s ever existed? Who’s to say You don’t know the name of every amoeba just as well as You know every star? Then I think maybe there’s really no big or small. Compared to the atom, I am like Jupiter. Compared to Jupiter, I’m like an atom. And You, You are beyond size. Beyond quantum, beyond infinite.
“Where shall I go from Your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there!”
-Psalm 139: 7-8
There is no escape from You, nor would I want one. How wonderful to know I cannot flee from You; even when I try You do not let me. You are in every breath… I’ve met people who say they have no spiritual need, and who am I to argue? But I am not one of those people. I crave You. I crave Your intimacy. Your purpose. An atheistic existence cannot satisfy me, even should I wish it; it cannot satisfy my intellect or my soul… When I was a child, I did not care. I never really needed You. You were a vague idea, a figure of imagination, like the tooth-fairy, but more amorphous. You were just an intrinsic element of familial life. You were Sunday mornings and old funny songs, pieces of bread and grape juice. But that was all… And then I grew older, and You shattered me, pierced my heart with the nails. Wrapped me in warmth and refused to let go.
“If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there Your hand shall lead me,
and Your right hand shall hold me.”
-Psalm 139: 9-10
I trust You. Not in that empty, prosperity gospel way, where they tell You to be believe and then life will be all daisies and sunflowers. That’s a bunch of bullshit. I know there will be sorrows, some greater even than I can bear. That’s one of the costs of breathing. And I don’t think sorrow is about strength either. The idea that anything that bad happens is some test of Faith, something that has to be overcome, something God has done to You deliberately. Mostly I think that’s bull too. Not everything is a test of Faith. Bad things are going to happen because the world isn’t perfect. And I don’t think it’s to make me suffer, to make me a better person, to deepen roots. Sometimes bad things happen for no reason at all, but I know You’ll be there with me then, just as You’re with me always.
“Oh that You would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
They speak against You with malicious intent;
Your enemies take Your name in vain.”
-Psalm 139: 19-20
Yeah, I’d rather You didn’t get so big with the slaying. You’d have to slay me, too, I think. I know very well that there’s anger in me. Jealousies and petty conceits. Churning depths of pride and other ugly things I have to face. You know them all. Be kind to the wicked, so that You can be kind to me. Loving You doesn’t always make me good, doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t turn away, my tongue sharpen against You… what is the difference between me and a wicked man compared to You, You who are perfect in holiness, perfect in love? Is that not like the difference between the numbers one and two when compared to infinity? There is no difference. Be gentle with Your enemies, for I was one, and undoubtedly, will be one again, falling away and returning to you in and endless dance, like the Earth orbiting the sun.