O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me," even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. (Psalm 139:1-16, NKJV)
There is no game of hide-and-seek with God ... and sometimes, that can be more than a little unnerving to me. If you are at all like me, there are times you really don't want anybody else to see what you are doing. There are things we believe we have hidden away, maybe even from ourselves, because to bring them up is to remember pain, sorrow, anger, and a host of other feelings we really don't care to deal with. And, ultimately, we feel like we need to hide them from God so we can hide our shame or perhaps because we don't really feel accepted and forgiven deep down in our souls.
Yet, this "hiding from God" is not only futile, it is a little silly and even seeks to diminish His omniscience. After all, if we can hide this from Him, then He can't really know everything. One of the most profound thoughts I've ever read on this comes from A.W. Tozer (Knowledge of the Holy). He writes,
"To say that God is omniscient is to say that He possesses perfect knowledge and therefore has no need to learn. But it is more: it is to say that God has never learned and cannot learn … He is never surprised, never amazed, He never wonders about anything … No talebearer can inform on us, no enemy can make an accusation stick … since he knew us utterly before we knew Him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us."
If I take this to heart, rather than finding it disturbing I should take a great deal of comfort in it. The Psalmist certainly did when he acknowledged that he could never hide from God. Tozer drives home the point that God still chooses us knowing full well who we are and what we are capable of doing. That, my friends is complete love and acceptance. And rather than drive us to use our freedom to pursue evil, it should overwhelm us with His mercy and repeatedly call us to true repentance and service.
As I travel my Crooked Path, I will be tempted at times to fall deep into the believe that God has not really forgiven me because He knows just how bad I can be. When those thoughts come, I can take refuge in the Psalms and in thoughts from men like Tozer, thoughts that understand our God-out-of-time who sees it all just as if it were happening at that very moment. And in seeing, He still pursues and forgives. I take comfort in being completely known, constantly seen, and unconditionally accepted. I can come home again, much like the prodigal, knowing my Father is waiting to take me in. He won't be surprised ... in fact, He's always delighted to see me again!
- Are you hiding, or think you are hiding, from God? Do you find it to be exhausting and difficult?
- Your head tells you, based on what you have heard, that you are accepted completely. Do you have trouble getting your heart to understand and accept that idea?
- Does this God who knows, sees, and accepts scare you a bit? Or can you take comfort in knowing that you cannot surprise Him?