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everywhereAs I recently mentioned, Psalm 139 is one of my top three favorite psalms (with #8 and 19). This morning it got me to musing how my image of all those qualities of God that I learned in elementary school – like omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent – have shifted for me as I have grown older. It’s not that their meanings have changed; God is still everywhere, for example, but as my image of God has changed, the effect of these words has become radically different for me. Growing up, we were taught that God is everywhere, able to see everything we do. Had I been reading the psalms in those days, I might have been in a state of high anxiety to hear the psalmist say, “If I go up to the heavens you are there; if I sink to the nether world you are present there” if I felt that I had not measured up in my behavior. I can imagine trying to find a closet or a dark corner in the barn at the end of our street in which to hide in an effort to avoid God’s disappointment in me. Believing now that God is always and everywhere with me, not to mention within me, rejoicing in our relationship, never causes me to want to hide. Fidelity on both our parts allows me to look in the mirror of God’s presence even on my worst days and find comfort there because I trust that God loves me as I am and wants me to move always toward loving myself that way as well.

Today, then, I offer the reassurance contained in some of the early lines of Psalm 139 as sustenance for the day. Rain or shine, dark or light, success or failure, God will be there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there Your hand shall guide me and your right hand hold me fast…