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.
She sat quietly, listening to the pastor speaking, her eyes focused on some distant thought. She shifted her weight and nodded. As the pastor spoke of resting, that is, trusting in God, she gently nodded her head. I’ve known her for a year now. I know of her story. She is a gentle soul with a loving heart. Her story is one full of heartbreak, of dissapointment, of horrors I’ve never seen, nor probably will see. Yet still, she comes. She sits, quietly. You’d almost look past her if you didn’t know her, but don’t. Her eyes, peaceful wells of joy. Her face, strong and determined. Her heart, she pours out to God as she sits, while all others stand, and quietly weeps through her praise. Everything about her is still… is quiet.
And suddenly, I’m jarred back to the moment, as she lifts her chin and speaks up. She shares of trusting in God when the bottom comes out. She speaks of trusting in God even when there seems to be no reason to. She shares a word from the Psalms. She meditates on the Word, “if I make my bed in heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in hell, you are also there.” She reminds me that God is always there.
And suddenly, it makes sense to me. All along, I’d seen Psalm 139 as a reflection on trying to run from God, but she points out that neither heaven nor hell are simply places we will one day see, but rather they are here… they are now. With that in mind, I realize the verse could read a thousand different ways.
If I lay down to sleep in my multi-billion dollar mansion, blessed with all things imaginable, you are there. If my pillow is the concrete curb beneath an overpass, my blanket yesterdays news, you are there.
If I lay down to sleep in my suburban, white, middle-class home, you are there. If I sleep in the darkness of a hiding place, unsure if I’ll survive the night, you are there.
If I lay down to sleep, fully knowing and trusting in God’s word and His promises, you are there. If I lie awake, questioning the very existence of God, my hatred and anger towards God coursing through my heart, even there You are.
The beauty of her words take my breath away. Such simplicity, yet such intricate beauty. And suddenly I am overwhelmed, and can not help but weep with her. No words on what troubled her soul. No explanation as to what has brought her to this place, only a simple yielding all to Christ, pouring out her heart in earnest hope that He would be true to His word… that He is there… He is here.