I Am Known by God

O God, You know me inside and out, through and through.
Everything I do, every thought that flits through my mind, every step I take, every plan I make, every word I speak, You know, even before these things happen.
You know my past; You know my future.
Your circumventing presence covers my every move.
Your knowledge of me sometimes comforts me, sometimes frightens me, but always it is far beyond my comprehension.
You were present at my very conception.
You guided the molding of my unformed members within the body of my mother.
Nothing about me, from beginning to end, was hid from Your eyes.
How frightfully, fantastically wonderful it all is!
May Your all-knowing, everywhere-present Spirit continue to search out my feelings and thoughts…
Deliver me from that which may hurt or destroy me, and guide me along the paths of love and truth.
Paraphrase of Psalm 139:1-6,13-18, 23-24 by Leslie F. Brandt

The psalmist is talking about an omnipotent, omnipresent and transcendent God which may conjure up images of a heavenly Big Brother watching over us. But there is much more here. The psalmist is talking about a God that we cannot get away from, that is a part of our inner being, and who is both within us and separate from us. Certainly God is not something alien to the psalmist, for the psalmist acknowledges that his life and being is wholly dependent on God.

Each secret thought is known to you,
the path I walk my whole life through,
my days, my deeds, my hopes, my fears,
my deepest joys, my silent fears.

O search me, God, my hear reveal,
renew my life, my spirit heal;
for I am yours, I rest in you,
Great Spirit, come, rest in me, too.
Henry R. McFayden and Marty Haugen

To believe in a severely limited God takes the heart out of reverence and out of prayer. To stand before the Master of the Universe is quite different than to stand before a limited and often defeated god. To pray to one who has little interest and even less capacity to hear and answer prayer will result in a different kind of prayer life than to pray to the One who speaks all creation into being and cares intensely about even the smallest detail of creation, such as every hair upon our heads.
Rueben P. Job

In a word, there is no point is space, whether within or without the bounds of creation, Where God is not. Indeed, this subject is far too vast to be comprehended by the narrow limits of human understanding. We can only say: The great God, the eternal, the almighty Spirit, is as unbounded in his presence, as in his duration and power.
John Wesley

You are before me, Lord, you are behind,
and over me you have spread out your hand;
such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
to high to grasp, to great to understand.

If I should take my flight into the dawn,
and from your presence where, Lord, shall I fly?
your mighty hand will rest upon me still,
and your right hand will guard me evermore.

Search me, O God; search me and know my heart;
try me, O God; my mind and spirit try;
keep me from any path that gives you pain,
and lead me in the everlasting way.
Ian Pitt-Watson

These reflections are for use during the week of January 17-23, 2021 and based on the lectionary for January 17.

Joyce D. Sohl


Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.

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