Confined by God

You hem me in behind and before,

and you lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

too lofty for me to attain. (Psalm 139:5-6)

Some people (my wife is one) enjoy having the covers securely tucked in at night. I, on the other hand, find it distressing to be so confined. It feels like I’m in a coffin.

Likewise, some people find the thought of God’s intimate involvement in their lives to be tremendously reassuring while others find it to be more than a little disturbing (and may reject the notion altogether).

Since I first became aware of God’s presence in my life, I’ve never doubted God’s desire or ability to care for creation in even seemingly minute and insignificant ways. Most of the time, this knowledge has given me persistent peace and abiding joy.

For some reason, however, the night of my attempted overdose, I was feeling smothered by the presence of God in my life. Strange as it seems, I wanted a break from being so close to God. My attempted suicide was in part a futile effort to gain some distance, to create some shade where I could hide from the spotlight of God.

Yet, as the Psalmist discovers,

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,

and the light about me be night,”

even the darkness is not dark to you;

the night is bright as the day,

for darkness is as light with you. (139:11-12, NRSV)

There are still days I prefer to pull the shades and lie in bed rather than walk in the light of God. Ultimately, though, I’ve come to embrace God’s presence in my life as good news. I’m grateful I’ve passed through the darkness. God’s light always shines in our darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.

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