Friday, 4 February 2011

I won't let you fall: Psalm 139 part 1

Morning, God.

I've been reading Psalm 139. Wonderful words.

'You have searched me, LORD, 

   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 is on my tongue 
   you, LORD, know it completely.' 

There are times when I don't have any words, strange as that may seem for someone who is always wittering on. It has been observed in the past that I'm not a person to use three words when a hundred and fifty might do - but sometimes I find that there's so much I want to say but I have no idea how to start. And that's why Psalm 139 is so wonderful.  One of the reasons. 

You have searched me and you know me. So you'll know right now that I have a headache, I'm looking out of the window at the back garden where the wind has blown over the bird table and our Christmas Tree (Bruce the Spruce) who is still in his pot as he hasn't the advantage of roots, is lying on his side because of the wind. You'll know what sort of week I've had - confusing, frustrating, strange, tiring, disappointing. There were some good points in it, but at this exact moment I don't feel like dwelling on them because I'm feeling a bit pathetic, but you know that too.  And you'll know that I've forgotten the sugar in my coffee, so excuse me for one minute.

That's better. 

So you know everything about me. I can't hide from you, can I?  Even when I shut you out in the mistaken impression that it might make life simpler, you're still there.  It reminds me of when my little girls put their heads behind a cushion and then imagine that because they can't see me, I can't see them. Sometimes you make me uncomfortable and I like to pretend that you're not there. That's what I do; I shut my eyes really tight and shout 'lalalala' so that I can't hear you - but you're still there. Smiling at me, because you love me even when I'm a bit of a prat.

I was reading the other day that watching me gives you pleasure, Lord.  Really? Just as I go to see Lizzie and Katy on my way to bed and I watch them sleep, you watch me. Just as I fill up with love as I look at their beautiful little faces fast asleep, all the rubbish of the day disappears.  All the little bits of disobedience, the squabbles, the cross voices, the conflicts, the wasted food, the spilled drinks, the pulled faces, the refusals to co-operate and the daily bathtime armageddon all evaporate as I gaze at them, looking so tiny and vulnerable and young. 

Do you look at me like that? Does it make it all worthwhile?

That's an idea that blows my mind. All the debris that I accumulate; the hundreds of times each day that I offend you, the vast majority of which I don't ever say sorry for, and yet you look down on me with love. 

'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,  

even there your hand will guide me,

   your right hand will hold me fast.'


So you'll never leave me, either.  Not even when I run to the ends of the earth to avoid you - no problem because the ends of the earth are nothing for the one who made it.  

The last two lines make me think of me limping along, hurt or injured, and you're beside me with your arm round me, helping me, showing me the way. You won't let go. Like that bit in Titanic, 'Never let go!' only I'm not a sinking ship, (even though I do occasionally feel that I'm clinging to the wreckage).

I won't go under, because you're there, with your right hand holding me fast.

Katy learned to climb a climbing frame the other day, and for a while she was very nervous about striking out on her own. She needed me to hold her while she climbed, and then after a while she needed me to just be there.  I heard myself saying to her, 'I won't let you fall'.  That's me, human, mother to a sweet little unco-ordinated thing that was shinnying up a ladder to a slide, assuring her that she was safe because I was there. Brave words.  I would have done everything possible not to let her fall, and she had faith in me. I find myself watching my children on these playframes feeling a bit anxious as I know that I can't be everywhere and accidents lurk around every corner.  I won't always be there to catch her, if she falls off to the left, or the right, or slips out of reach, or does something unpredictable, as small children are wont to do.

But you will be there for me.  When you say, 'I won't let you fall', I can be absolutely sure that you won't.  

Because you said in Psalm 139 that you know what I'm going to do before I do it. You are never too far away to hold onto me.  You will never leave me.  And you keep your promises. You don't just do your best - there's no doubt about it. Your best is a definite.

Today's little devotional reading on my iPhone was from the writings of Charles Spurgeon:
'Ah! What mercy it is that it is not your hold of Christ that saves you, but his hold of you!  What a sweet fact, that it is not how you grasp his hand, but his grasp of yours, that saves you.  The Lord's promise, once given, is never recalled'.
Charles Spurgeon, Daily Help

So no matter how tricky the climbing frame is that I'm clambering up, you'll hang onto me. Maybe I should try out a few more climbing frames instead of worrying about plummeting to the ground and breaking my neck. Because the One who made me and the universe loves me because I am his child, and he won't let me fall.

Maybe your face will light up with delight like mine did when Katy turned round at the top and said with pride, 'I did it!'

I like that idea.

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