Saturday November 7, 2009
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, Psalm 139:7-8
A popular book circulating a few years ago was titled “The God Chasers.” This text could be aptly titled “The Man Chaser.” If there was ever dedication to a task, it is God’s persistent seeking men and women despite the prevalence of rebuffs he receives. The psalm goes on to dismiss the far reaches of the ocean and the depths of darkness as a place to hide from God—even the darkness is light to him!
The passage is frightening. We can run, but we can’t hide. The fragile covering of every argument, subterfuge and claim of disbelief can be shattered in a moment. No-one can escape a performance interview with our maker. We may meet him in life, or worse, we will meet him in death. Flight from him is a futile escape. Discounting liability to him is a fool’s errand. Our every word, action and thought is recorded in vivid colour.
But there is also consolation here! The power of God is omnipotent and inexorable. Yet that very power, the greatest source of fear, is also a greater spring of comfort. If the sinner’s fiercest rebellion cannot avoid God, neither can the saint’s darkest moments. When our lives miss our communion with God; when we feel farthest from him; when the gap seems insurmountable; in our sense of failure, of unworthiness, or defeat: he is there. His presence is unavoidable. His reach exceeds our hopelessness.
Hear the psalmist’s experience while in the farthest reaches of human existence: “even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Our emptiness or despondency is no match for the span of God’s touch for “You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.” In our extremity, is there a safer place to be?