The Inescapable GodPsalms 139:1-14 (NRSVUE)
To the leader. Of David. A Psalm.
O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and night wraps itself around me,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
This morning in Household Huddle, you might think we talked about God and the Bible and how to live out our faith. And we did, but we also talked about dinosaurs and rockets that fly out into space, diving into the deepest sea and trekking through jungles, riding camels through the desert, zooming in race cars as fast as light, and traveling to the North Pole. You see, to truly learn about our faith, sometimes we need to step outside the neat box of what is expected to experience God in the unexpected. Because as we learned during the height of the pandemic, God does not sit here in the sanctuary and wait for us to come and visit on Sunday mornings, NO! God meets us where we are, out in the real world, amid the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, and in the midst of the joys and struggles that we face.
I wonder, have you ever wanted just to run away from it all? Throw in the towel? Drop your responsibilities? Leave your job? Or the busyness of your life? Have you ever questioned your faith or your beliefs and wondered whether you should just walk away? Friends, we all question our lives and our purpose and our faith at one time or another, and it’s absolutely normal! But sometimes, I think that happens because we focus on the wrong things. We allow ourselves to get trapped or caught up in the box that we think we’re supposed to be in, or the way we think we’re supposed to act, or the things we think we’re supposed to believe, or the person we think we’re supposed to be. And we let the opinions of others and the little details of life overwhelm us rather than looking at the big picture.
This week, as I told several of you on Wednesday, I listened to a podcast titled “A Fish Standing on the Beach,” and it was all about how sometimes we need to step away to get a better look at where we are. As the podcast said, from the beach you get a much different and broader look at the water, a view that you cannot get when you are floating in it.
Now today in Household Huddle, we talked about dinosaurs, because, believe it or not, dinosaurs helped us learn more about God. We talked about Tyrannosaurus Rex, who was a carnivore, meaning that he only ate meat. There was Triceratops, who was an herbivore meaning that he only ate plants. And there were lots of other dinosaurs that were omnivores, meaning they ate meat and plants, like lots of people do.
Now, if you’re not sure where we’re going with this, hold on for just a minute because we are just about at the point where God comes into the picture. The word omnivore describes dinosaurs or anything else that eats everything like meat and plants and grains. And the word omnipresence means that God isn’t just in church or in the stories of the Bible, but God is everywhere!
And that is what the psalmist reminds us of today–that no matter where we go, no matter where we run, or drive, or dream of going, if we fly in a rocket to outer space, if we dive into the deepest sea or trek through the thickest jungle, if we ride camels through the desert or travel to the North Pole; God is always there, to hug us and heal us and protect us and love us just the way we are, giving us hope and guidance and understanding. Because don’t forget, my friends, God created each one of us as a unique and one-of-a-kind creation. But God did not create us to be perfect. Not you or me or anyone else. And that’s why we need God, and we need one another to walk this crazy journey of life and faith together.
I wonder, have you ever been to a church where the pastor or the worship leader randomly calls out, “God is Good!” To which the congregation replies, “All the Time.” Then the pastor says, “…and ALL the Time,” and the congregation replies, “God is Good!” (Let’s give it a try.) Friends, sometimes I think we need to remember that. We need to remember that whatever is happing in our lives and in the world around us, whatever is frustrating us and making us mad, or sad, or angry, through it all, not only is God always there, loving us and protecting us, but God is always good.
So, brothers and sisters in Christ, the next time you feel overwhelmed by the world or stressed out in your life and you just want to run away from it all, take some time looking outside of the box that you think you need to be in. Think about dinosaurs or rocket ships or climbing mountains. Look at the flowers and trees around you and the birds flying in the sky. Or think about trips through a desert or a jungle or to the North Pole as you take a deep breath and look beyond the things that frustrate you because life is too short to worry and stress over little things. Folks, God created too many amazing things to look at and experience, and ponder, including YOU! So, remember: no matter where you are or what you are going through, God is always near. And don’t forget that God is good (all the time), and All the time (God is Good)!
My friends, may it be so. Thanks be to God, Amen!