Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence? Psalm 139:7
When I was a child, a popular Christmas song that was used to keep us children in line was “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”. Adults used the lyrics to remind us of how we shouldn’t behave prior to Christmas, because Santa Claus was constantly aware of how good or bad we were, and it might keep him from bringing gifts to us. We were told that we “better not cry” or “pout” because that would be bad. Also that Santa Claus was aware of us even when we were asleep, so our dreams might be suspect.
Thinking back, I wonder if some of my ideas about God’s knowledge and perception of me were carried over in my mind from those reminders. I know that I have been anxious over a lot of years wondering if I was being a good enough wife, parent, grandparent, co-worker, friend and neighbor. There was always something, and even someone who let me know that I was failing, and the implication was that God knew it and was disappointed with me.
Through a lot of years of Bible study, prayer, some counseling and much reading, I have learned differently, and Psalm 139 has been a major Old Testament help. Though, I continue to get frustrated and anxious about things. For instance, this week it has been about some technology that has been updated, reminding me how little I know and how stupid I feel. I know God doesn’t see me or treat me that way.
Recently I was asked, “when I felt least afraid and anxious” and I told about my experience in the hospital on Christmas Eve, 2020:
On December 16, I tested positive for Covid 19, and because we could check my oxygen level and it was low, the Dr. told me to get to emergency. I was admitted to the hospital and at 2:00 a.m. on December 20, I was taken to ICU because I needed more oxygen than I could be given where I was. I was able to let my son know, and he contacted my daughter. They talked to the Dr. and were told “that if I had to go on a ventilator, I might not make it out”. I knew that, too.
Obviously, thanks to the Lord, a lot of people praying, and the wonderful care I received from all the hospital staff, I did “make it”. There are so many good things that have come from that experience. It was not a bad thing to be wholly dependent on God for my attitude and on the kindness of the various medical staff. I don’t remember being afraid or anxious about the outcome.
By Christmas Eve night, still in ICU, I remember telling God that “if I couldn’t be where I wanted to be, I was with Him in the best place I could be with such caring people”. As strange as it may sound, the whole experience was a life changing gift for me and is a cherished memory.
Reading and pondering Psalm 139 is especially helpful for focusing on how fully we are known and cared for by God. Although verses 19-22 talk about external enemies, too often I find that my own memories, thoughts and attitudes are my “enemies’’. I am so grateful for the prayer at the end.
Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24 AMP
Take some time to read Psalm 139. Perhaps use a different Bible than you usually do. Perhaps the Amplified, the Message or King James versions.