Monday, November 4, 2013


Psalm 139 has been one of my favourites for a while now. I relate to it so strongly that when I am lost for words and struggling to pray for myself, the psalmist seems to speak for me.

I'd been carrying an unidentifiable burden for about a week, and a few days ago, something finally triggered a total lock-down in my spiritual system. My body didn't want to cooperate either. And of course the judging little devil-voice told me it was sin: I must have done something wrong to feel this way. So I ran to the psalms and stumbled into chapter 32.

While I kept my silence, my body wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,"
and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

So I confessed. I got down on my knees with my face to the ground and prayed and confessed and prayed and confessed and begged and pleaded with God to take the trash away from me. I know the categories: sins of commission, sins of omission, known, unknown. You name it. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of cleansing myself.

Of course I'd forgotten we inevitably fail in that. Nothing changed. I went back to my good ol' 139 and started reading.

Now a lot of us know lines 13 and 14:

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..

I mean, I've got it underlined in purple in my NRSV and all. But what caught my eye that morning was 15 and 16:

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.

Now I don't know what this says to you, but suddenly, I realized that I am not some flawed piece of God's creation that He was making with His hands while watching TV or something. He wasn't just practicing on me. As He made me, I was not hidden, His eyes beheld me. He observed, very carefully. And He appraised and approved every intricacy of my mind, every weave of my emotions, every line and molecule of my body.

And then you know what? He even wrote it all down before it was, just to make sure everything was perfect.

Oh look at me! Trying to fix it, trying to make sure it goes right. Dancing around in the gooey muck of my life, trying to hold it all together. And so proud of my shoddy work.

I didn't clean my life up that morning and I didn't suddenly see the light either, but I had a revelation. I am still struggling on my own strength. I don't still completely trust the man who made me. And I still have much to surrender.

I keep forgetting the latter part of 14:

Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.