Monday, October 12, 2009

Scent of Hope

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

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. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,"even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:1-16

This Psalm really spoke to me yesterday. I find myself at a place where for reasons I don't entirely understand, it is much harder to pray than it used to be, and where my feelings don't match up enough (in my opinion!) to Reality. When I've shared with others about this place I'm in, I describe it as a "flatness."

It's so easy to sink into a kind of paranoid introspection (and I do sink, too often) when my heart and mind feel like they have lately...have I done something wrong? Is my faith weakening? Am I listening hard enough to Him, obeying Him faithfully enough? (yes, hear the perfectionist in me speak, but you know what I mean). We should ask these questions of ourselves often, but when the Lord comes back with no clear answer or by telling me "TRUST," well, then, God help me to trust! And, like Paul prayed about his thorn - though I'd never say that the flatness is equal to whatever Paul suffered with his thorn, I say, "Lord, please take this away! And help me walk well in it until then."

The Psalm encouraged me, because it reminded me that He knows my thoughts, He's searched my heart, and He is familiar with all my ways. There's no mistake, no accident in what He ordains for me. He has laid His Hand upon me. It is comforting to know that He knows.

I hope that if things are a bit dark in your world right now, you can catch the scent of hope today too, as He's graciously allowed me to this day - hope in remembering His intimate care and love, and the encouragement of answered prayers during some overwhelming circumstances.

Photos - taken by my parents in their woods...many, many gorgeous species of mushrooms, and a gorgeous butterfly

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