While I have been distancing myself from family and friends in my quest to stay healthy, my husband has gotten to know me even better than he did before the pandemic. We have not been going out to eat or visiting others’ homes for any extended socialization. He has learned to ignore my little quirks and to be patient with my imperfections. So far, so good. I am probably aiding his path toward sainthood.
No matter how well my husband knows me, he will never know me the way God does. As the new year begins, it is reassuring to me to pray with Psalm 139. I think it’s my favorite psalm of all the 150.
Each verse of the psalm delightfully stresses how thoroughly God knows me. He knows my physical activities, my thoughts, my habits, even what I am about to say—or type right now! I know many people would say it is a coincidence, but when I decided to write a blog post about Psalm 139, I sat at my kitchen table and opened up my Bible; and without any bookmark or my consulting the table of contents, I opened up to the exact page containing that psalm. Some folks might call that confirmation.
My husband and I like to take day or weekend trips to Maine, New Hampshire, and other New England states. Sometimes we go by car, sometimes by tour bus. Sometimes we go with friends. Needless to say, we have not traveled over the past year. However, whether I travel by car, bus, or imagination, Psalm 139 reminds me that I always have a travel Partner who is not hindered by mileage, darkness, or time of day. With this Partner, I will never have to fear losing my way to his Spirit, to my ultimate destination of union with him. If I start to feel overwhelmed in the new year, the Lord will keep me on the right road when I pray to him for help.
God doesn’t need any ultrasound or X-ray or scope. He has known every part of me even before anyone else would recognize me as a person, according to verses 13-16. From my beginnings, before my little voice could say, “I love you” back to my Creator, he was lovingly watching me. He knows my beginning and my future, and yet I still worry. Why do I do that? Maybe I need to pray with this psalm more often?
Verses 19-22 are really not my favorites. I take them only as a warning to avoid those influences and temptations that are not in line with God and his kingdom. I want to always be on God’s side, while I know I can never reach full understanding. I remain humble and vulnerable, so I purposely invite God to continue knowing me with the ending verses (23-24) of the psalm:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
My God! All searching, all knowing, all understanding, all perfect! Thank you for loving me last year and this new year and all the years to come! Amen!
Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unspalsh
The scripture passages are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, CT. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.