My beloved father-in-law just celebrated his 92nd birthday. Our family surprised him with a written document of our thoughts and favorite memories of him. He read each one, laughing and crying with every tenderly written word. In a Romans 8:28 way, this is a byproduct of the pandemic that forced us into lockdowns for months. We started doing a Wednesday Night Happy Hour Zoom call every week in order to stay in touch with him, and that has brought us very close with each other. From a Navy granddaughter stationed in Germany, to a grandson teaching school in Montana, to family living in Georgia, Virginia, Florida, and the Outer Banks, we come together from far and wide to be a family together.
Today we look at Psalm 139, a beautiful psalm of David. In it, he describes a kind of intimacy that only comes with familial relationships … in this case, parent to child.
Psalm 139 (Common English Bible)
Lord, you have examined me.
You know me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I stand up.
Even from far away, you comprehend my plans.
3 You study my traveling and resting.
You are thoroughly familiar with all my ways.
4 There isn’t a word on my tongue, Lord,
that you don’t already know completely.
5 You surround me—front and back.
You put your hand on me.
6 That kind of knowledge is too much for me;
it’s so high above me that I can’t reach it.
What word of comfort can you glean from this? To be so fully known and loved by our creator is surely a word of majesty and hope in our ordinary lives. God surrounds us, front and back, with his hand on us. I immediately think of my father running beside me as I was learning how to ride a bike. With his hand on the back of the seat, I knew he wouldn’t let go until he knew I was safe.
So it is with God.
13 You are the one who created my innermost parts;
you knit me together while I was still in my mother’s womb.
14 I give thanks to you that I was marvelously set apart.
Your works are wonderful—I know that very well.
15 My bones weren’t hidden from you
when I was being put together in a secret place,
when I was being woven together in the deep parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my embryo,
and on your scroll every day was written that was being formed for me,
before any one of them had yet happened.
When I think about my father-in-law’s 92 years of life, it delights me to realize that God has a plan and a purpose for every single day of it. God knows what will happen every day and he runs beside Cap with his hand on the bike.
17 God, your plans are incomprehensible to me!
Their total number is countless!
18 If I tried to count them—they outnumber grains of sand!
If I came to the very end—I’d still be with you.
God’s incomprehensible plans are the sure thing that we all can hang on to in good times and bad. And in the very end, we’ll still be with God.
I hope that brings you joy today.