Throughout life we all seem to encounter certain struggles: anxiety, loneliness, and insecurity, to name a few. In the midst of these struggles, we often make attaining God’s peace more difficult than it has to be. That’s why Psalm 139 is my “power Psalm” -- the Psalm that encourages me and brings peace to my soul in the middle of the storm. From the first to the last verse it reiterates God’s constant presence in our lives, and there’s nothing more comforting to me than knowing that God Himself chooses to stand beside me through it all!
“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 in on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.” -Psalm 139:1-4
To know that He knows everything about me—my thoughts, my personality, my insecurities, and my struggles—is the most comforting thing. I cannot surprise Him with any egregious thought or awful mistake. He knows me, He knows my needs, and He knows my sins, yet he chooses to love me anyway. How awesome is it that He takes such an interest in us that He knows all our words before we even speak them! How many times have I abandoned Him, yet He still watches over me. It brings me such peace and joy to know that He knows the real me, and He chooses to forgive and love me anyway. He knows all my faults, but He finds me blameless. Others may be disappointed in me, but when I read this Psalm I am reminded that they don’t know me like He does, and His opinion of me is the only one that matters.
“You hem me in -- behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.” -Psalm 139:5
Not only does He walk alongside us, but He walks before and behind us. He protects our way, hemming us in as we travel. He has set our way before us and He will not leave us vulnerable. He is a good shepherd. The second part of this verse reminds me of a trust exercise we’ll often do at summer camp. There are two participants: one is blindfolded and the other isn’t. The person who isn’t blindfolded places their hands on the shoulders of the one who is blindfolded and tells them where to step. Whenever I’m blindfolded, I usually find myself being scared because I’m not sure where I’m going. However, there is comfort found in knowing that the person whose hands are leading me can see. I think this little part of the verse speaks so much to having faith in God. Not being able to see is scary, but knowing that God has laid His hands upon me is so encouraging. He is incapable of making a mistake. He will not lead me into danger. All I have to do is have faith and let Him guide 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, ever there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:6-10
I believe that these verses don’t just speak to physical places, but to mental places as well. No matter how far we may fall into depression, how much we let anxiety take a hold of us, or how many insecurities we take on, He is still there. He will never leave us; in fact, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. He lives within us. No matter how far we may feel from His presence, we must remember that He is still within us, He is still leading us, and He still hears us.
“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.” Psalm 139:11-12
Light beats darkness every time. The sun always rises and casts out the night. We never wonder as to whether the light will overcome the darkness: we know that as long as the sun rises day will come. We never wonder whether or not the darkness will seep out of our closets if we open the door. We know that the light will brighten up the closet. Light overcoming darkness in an indisputable scientific fact. God will overcome every time. Just because we can’t physically see Him as we do the light, we should have the same faith in Him as we do in the sun rising.
“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 139:13-16
The world has set a standard of physical beauty that most girls feel pressured to attain: I know I do most of the time. But sometimes I hear this gentle whisper. This gentle reminder that God created me. He formed me with his own two hands: the same hands that formed the mountains and the lilies. Not only did he create me, but he found me worthy of creating. And he didn’t just create my physical body (something that isn’t even going to last). He created my personality. My laugh. And He found all of it worthy of creating. He thought the world needed one of me, and He loves every piece of me. I am his handiwork, his masterpiece. How dare I criticize a creation of His? If he finds me beautiful, how can I even consider hating any aspect of myself? How much love He has poured into me! I can’t even fathom it!
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.” -Psalm 139:17-18
We are with him as we fall asleep, as we slumber, and as we awake. He watches over us, and he never slumbers (Psalm 121:3-4). We are safe with Him and He is always with us.
“If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.” -Psalm 139:19-22
Here, David is not speaking of the hatred that is accompanied with ill intent: he speaks of the hatred that comes along with grief and sorrow.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
God cares about us so much. He doesn’t want us to live with any inner offenses because He knows the trouble they cause. He doesn’t bring them up to make us feel bad, He brings them up so that we may be free from sin! I think we just need to remember that all of God’s ways are good and have trust in Him.
Daughter of Christ, you are so loved. You are so worthy. You are worth more than your mistakes and successes combined. God found you -- your body, your laugh, your quirks, and your personality -- worthy of creating. Not only that, but he found you worthy of saving. And at what a high price your salvation was bought! His love for you in unfathomable. Trust his gentle guidance and know that he goes with you wherever you may travel. He’ll give you the peace you’re looking for, all you have to do is trust Him.
Written by: Chloe