There is this phrase stenciled on the wall in what has been the kids nursery. It is now empty of a baby, but the phrase remains. It says, “Every child is a story yet to be told”. I feel blessed to be apart of my children’s stories each day. However, I know from scripture that our days are already planned and our stories known by God our Creator. “Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began.” (Psalms 139:16). It is quite exciting to see these plans unfold each day. These words bring me comfort that not only are each of my children’s days planned, but so are mine and so are yours.
Do you ever think that before the day begins God knows each and every detail? He knows the choices we will make, to bring Him glory or glory to ourselves. He knows the joy we will bring to others or the selfish pain we will cause. He knows the work we will do that will go unseen or maybe recognized. He knows the conversations that will happen around the table and he sees the empty table where you sit alone. He knows who you will run into while running errands and who you will sit by at church. All of it. He knows.
Earlier in that passage it says, “Where can I go to escape your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol , you are there. If I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, even there your hand will hold on to me.” (Psalms 139:7-9). He is unescapable and I am so thankful. He is ever present in our unfolding stories. He is with my children, when I am not. This was especially comforting while our oldest was out of the country. He knew and was with her when she got up each morning and went to bed tired each night. I think of Him smiling as she poured her days out to the people in El Salvador. She went there confident in sharing the gospel, but gained a new fire for making disciples. I am watching this play out now that she is home. All of this, God already knew and wrote down.
Somedays I would like to peak ahead or ask why certain events happened in our story, but I trust the one who has it all planned and written down. I respond with trust because I know he loves me. I did not say it was always easy, but I chose to trust him. We can get stuck in the joy of days gone by or we can drown in our recent sorrows. Maybe even become paralyzed in the fears of what is to come. In each of these places, “even there your hand will lead me; your right hand will hold on to me.” (Psalms 139:9). The one who holds your hand makes all the difference. I love these words, “You have encircled me; you have placed your hand on me.” (Psalms 139:5). If he has ahold of our hand by his right hand and it sounds like the other is on us, why should we be worried or fearful? Plus, he has encircled us! Oh, the comfort and a sense of protection this brings for me and our children.
On the flip side, if our hearts are bent towards self and the sin of this world, our thoughts might take comfort in the next verses, but only for a minute. “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night’ – even the darkness is not dark to you. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to you.” (Psalms 139:11-12). I will admit there were and are still sometimes in my life that I hope the darkness would hide my sin. If I was not caught or if I just did not do that particular sin again, maybe it would stay in the dark. This is impossible with God. It is something I pray for my kids, that they will be caught in their sin. I pray that for myself as well. I can not ask something of them and not expect it for myself. That kinda levels the playing field. In our family, I am just one sinner, coming alongside 8 other sinners, daily depending on the One who holds my hand. (Side note: The book, Parenting, by Paul David Tripp, really helped me understand this part of raising kids.)
One good prayer to pray is found later on in this chapter. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalms139:23-24). I have a dear friend, who when her head rests on her pillow at night, she asks the Lord to bring to mind any unconfessed sin. She then confesses, repents and drifts off to peaceful, forgiven sleep. What a picture of the grace God so willingly gives!
Another comforting part of this chapter says, “God, how precious your thoughts are to me; how vast their sum is! If I counted them, they would outnumber the grains of the sand; when I wake up, I am still with you.” (Psalms 139:17-18). God’s thoughts are written out in the Bible that is so easily available to us in the United States. We can not forsake teaching our children God’s thoughts and ways found in the Bible. These thoughts should be precious to us. This is something I am convinced would help turn this nation around. However, I will save that for another day.
Dinner is waiting to be cooked, so I will close with this. Guess who wrote Psalms 139? Remember that kid, who was just running lunch to his brothers, who ended up confronting Goliath because he defied the Living God? Who came at the champion with only a sling shot and 5 smooth stones? Yes, the same David who killed the giant wrote these words. He knew the God who defeats giants and he knew who had written this part of his story. And like David, we are all walking stories written by the Living God.