Psalm 139: 7-12
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
As a child I used to play hide-and-seek with my parents. I remember racking my brain in search of the most ridiculous, inconspicuous, and dangerous inlets and corners within the house to stump my parents. We weren’t a family of abundant means, but a child cannot always assess distinctions between a 1,500 square foot apartment and a medieval palace – especially when the powers of imagination are at work.
I must say that I made the most of that space. I remember performing all sorts of crazy contorting feats with my tiny body to elude my parents, from scaling the harrowing shelves of Mt. Linen Closet, to shrinking down to near microscopic size to fit into my entertainment center cabinet. But no matter how much creativity I could muster, there were only so many possible hiding places and only so many positions in which I could place myself. They always found me. Being found out was my fate. Of course, it never stopped me from trying. I was always willing to push the limits, even though it never ended in surrender from my parents.
Okay, corny analogy alert: in many ways, I still feel like that little boy hiding from my Dad. I know that He has me; I know that He knows me better than anyone else, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to hide my weaknesses. I often think to myself, if God is invisible and if He normally doesn’t audibly reply, then why is it so hard to tell Him the truth? Am I doomed to repeat the cycles of inauthenticity and complacency in my spiritual life, just so that I can remain comfortable?
The truth is, the love of God is so magnetic that it is inescapable. In Psalm 139’s grand exposition, David gives us insight into one of the most beautiful mysteries of God. In Romans 8:39, we find that no power in heaven or hell can ever separate us from His love. This means that as His children, even our straying and our weakness puts us on a collision course with the divine. We are constantly heading toward the very thing our flesh pushes against; the transformative love of God.
Does this mean that we sin in hopes that we might be closer to Him? Does this mean that we purposely wander off because He will inevitably find us? The answer in scripture is a resounding “no”. In Romans 2:4, the Apostle Paul poses an important question: “do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” The truth is that when our spirits truly acknowledge that this is how much God loves us – when we truly grasp this reality – it compels us to do nothing else but respond. That is the space in which we meet God. When I was a near-atheist a few years ago, I reached a point where I had to earnestly ask God to show Himself to me objectively. He revealed Himself from every angle imaginable; using people, science, and the experiences I knew to draw me back home. This is why the Gospel is such amazing news for us. We can be assured not only that we always have a path home, but also that God Himself meets us on the path and walks us back to safety.
Where do you find yourself today? Do you feel as though God is detached and unconcerned? Do you feel that you are hiding yourself from Him, in fear of the pain of vulnerability? Maybe you are a Christian, but feel lost beyond the point of being found by the love of God. My prayer today is that the Holy Spirit will lead you to the pursuing, relentless love of Christ that pulls you toward Him at every step. May you be encouraged in knowing that the hand that holds you will not let go.
Vagner Lage is our Plantation Campus Worship Leader. He graduated from Southeastern University and is an avid fútbol fan, a great musician, husband, and friend. Follow him on Twitter.