Nowhere to Hide
“…Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast…” ~Psalm 139
Last month I had the opportunity to go to winter camp with several of our Sr. High students in Big Bear, CA. When we arrived it was hard to hide from the 30 inches of snow they had received the weekend before and the 22-degree temperature. As we strolled out in our Arizona gear, some in shorts, it didn’t take too long to realize we weren’t in Scottsdale any more.
For some of our students, it was the first time they had ever been to a winter camp. There were 400+ students, mostly from Southern California, coming together to sing, praise and draw closer to God. The scripture that we heard all weekend was Psalm 139. Our speaker shared the inner struggle that David was having when he wrote this Psalm.
David, known as a God fearing man, the man who killed Goliath and the greatest King Israel has had, was also a man who had an affair with a married woman. To make things worse, when she got pregnant he tried to cover it up. When that didn’t work, he had her husband killed. Despite being a “good” guy, David had his share of daemons he battled with every day.
In the first half of Psalm 139 (v. 1-12), David wants to get away; he wants to hide. He searches for a place where God might not find him, where God might not know his thoughts. He asks, “Where can I go from your spirit?” He says, “If I go to heaven you are there; if I go to the depths of hell you are there. If I run all day to flee your presence, when I get there you are already there.” He goes on to say that even if he were to die, God is there. David wants to go somewhere to hide his shame and his guilt so NO ONE, not even God, can see it.
We might not have done the things that David did, but I bet there have been times in our lives when we wish we could just hide, even from God. Maybe it is something we said, or something we did. Maybe there is something that we still do that we don’t want anyone to know about, and maybe, just maybe, we are so ashamed of it that we don’t even like to mention it to God.
We become good at hiding things from others and sometimes even from ourselves, but we can’t hide them from God. In v. 13, David has a change of heart. He goes from being angry with God for being everywhere, to seeking comfort in knowing that God is everywhere. David seeks comfort in knowing that even when he was at his lowest, even when he sent Uriah, the man he had killed, to carry the very orders to his captain that would have Uriah killed, God was with David. In the height of his glory and the depth of his shame, God was with David.
It is kind of a scary, yet comforting, thought. No matter what we do, good and bad, God is with us. God never leaves us nor forsakes us. No matter how many times we fall short, God is always there to pick us up, dust us off and offer His forgiveness.
As we face life, as we face tomorrow, find comfort in knowing that there is nothing you can do that will keep God from loving you. There is no place we can go where God isn’t there. God is in every relationship, every encounter and every thought, good and bad, and he loves us regardless. When we are down, we have to stop trying to hide from God and start look for his hand that is outstretched trying to pick us up. When we are up, we need to realize that God is the one who is lifting us up. Once we learn to surrender to God, our struggles and joys become a little easier.