God the Father Knows You Like the Back of His Hand ~ BitterSweetLife

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

God the Father Knows You Like the Back of His Hand

If you read Psalm 139 like a college textbook, the first and last sentences in the chapter would still be disconcerting: "O Lord, you have searched me and known me... See if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way."

Based on these two verses, our Father's Big Brother-like moral omniscience might be intriguing enough to provoke a complete read, the kind college students usually reserve for the sports page. And if a slow, contemplative read of Psalm 139 did ensue? It would be hard to gauge the quality and degree of the reaction that might follow.

American culture in the 21st century is marked by a pervasive feeling of alone-ness, although this is probably true of most cultures in most centuries. C.S. Lewis wrote, "We read to know we're not alone," and if this is true, then reading Psalm 139 slowly might conceivably be more disquieting than reading a mind-bender like Cortazar's A Continuity of Parks.

In Continuity, we discover that a killer may be stalking us. In Psalm 139, we discover that a mysterious and powerful deity has been shadowing us for every hour of our waking lives and has, in fact, involved himself in the creation of our DNA, the rhythms of our REM sleep and the events of our supposedly secret getaways. Which is worse?

I find God's expertise on the subject of me to be terrifying. There's no question that it is inescapable, and, to a degree, unbearable. It remains that way until I come to terms with the nature of God's insider watchfulness over our lives: He is the Father, and a Father unlike any we have ever had. This infinitely involved Father represents a new kind of parent: all power coupled with immense compassion. He doesn't need us, has no desire to control us, and certainly has nothing to gain from vicariously living through us. He has everything to give and nothing to gain.

Within this context, "I knew you in the womb and made plans" has the sound of the ultimate verbal trump card. Coming from a God who loves me with inexplicable tenderness, watching me learn to walk through the world with keen, parental attention, it is hard to pretend his plans for me don't matter, much less that I can escape them. If God knit my DNA together like yarn, I will probably not be be able to pull a fast one.

The greater question, though, is Why would I want to? There are moments, and they are becoming more frequent, when I am certain that this is the kind of Father we have all been wanting our entire lives.

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Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife