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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 139:1–6, 13–18

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
   and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
   and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
   it is so high that I cannot attain it.

For it was you who formed my inward parts;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
   Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
   My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
   intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
   all the days that were formed for me,
   when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
   How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
   I come to the end—I am still with you. (NRSV)

“God, investigate my life;
  get all the facts firsthand.
  I’m an open book to you;
  even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.”
  (Eugene Peterson, The Message)

When I read the opening of today’s passage, I feel comforted in knowing that God knows what I am feeling, even if I don’t reach out to God about my emotions. A few weeks ago I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts. One host of the show is a comedian and the other a doctor. The comedian was talking about how difficult it is to be a second-time new dad: the lack of sleep, the frustration of an inconsolable baby, and navigating life with a toddler and a newborn. He mentioned how he wants to pray and ask for help, but he doesn’t want to waste such a small prayer when there are so many bigger things that God is dealing with. I think we’ve all felt that same way. God has a lot of prayers coming in, and my request doesn’t seem nearly as important as the requests from refugees, those affected by gun violence, or someone dying of cancer—just to name a few. A lot of the time my prayers feel petty and insignificant.

Luckily God does not find our prayers to be unimportant. Every thought and feeling is known to God and is significant to God. God knows what is on our hearts even if we don’t reach out to God about it. This psalm tells us how God’s knowledge of us (and God’s love for us) is greater than we can ever understand. We are an open book to God, and I find comfort in that.

Loving God, I cannot comprehend your love and care for me. Thank you for always knowing what is on my heart and mind even when I don’t reach out to you. Remind me of this, especially when my prayers feel insignificant. Amen.

Written by Briana Belding-Peck, Family Ministry Coordinator

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