Michael Card writes the following phrase ... "Could it be You make Your presence known so often by Your absence, could it be that questions tell us more than answers ever do, could it be that You would really rather die than live without us, could it be the only answer that means anything is You?" I love this beautiful song about searching and listening for God's beauty, grace, provision and power. It asks the question, "Could it be?"
Psalm 139 mirrors some of the thoughts in this song as it presents both answers and new questions. I get a lot of questions. People are trying to find their way in a world filled with confusion. People are wondering about the Church. People ask about evil and why it exists. Let's take a Lenten journey through some of the questions and answers from Psalm 139.
First, does God love us? David's resounding answer is 'absolutely!' God is present with us (I can't go anywhere Your Spirit doesn't exist [v:8]). God's presence is both aware and uplifting (You hem me in behind and before me [v:5]). God holds us close (You lay Your hand upon me [v:10]). God created us carefully (you wove me together in my mother's womb [v:13]). I think you get the point! The 5 love languages (Gary Chapman) are gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch and acts of service. All of these are found in Psalm 139 as David describes a God he loves and trusts.
Second, does God call us? David believes God both forms us (we are made in a secret place ... with ordained, God-planned, days [v:15-16]) for His purpose and His will. I believe that will is expressed into the world as the Church. I often hear people talk about the faults, the failures and the hypocrisy of the Church. I would affirm that all of these things happen. So ... why does Jesus call the Church His bride? Why does the entire New Testament plant, struggle and affirm such an enterprise? Maybe the answer is that God teaches, leads and grows us through the struggles we have with one another. Maybe there is a secret blessing in trials that bring us closer to a mature understanding of God. Here's an observation. Those people who reject the very imperfect Church believe one of two lies. The first lie is that they are above and better than those hypocrites, ne'er-do-wells and failures that make up the Church. The second lie is that their infirmity, sin and depravity is too pervasive for them to walk in the door of the Church. Both of these lies are filled with arrogance (I am too good or too bad), self-centeredness (I can do something that trumps God) and misinformation (I am so smart I know the mind of God). God calls all who ask for God and believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Stop insulting God's Spirit by refuting His calling, His bride (the Church) and His plan (saving the world with messed-up people like you and me!
Finally, a very hard question ... do I have value? David's answer in Psalm 139 might be found in those questions that provide beautiful answers. Why would God protect something that isn't valuable? Do you believe God makes precious things (like people)? Why would God be intentional about something that had no value (God doesn't do trivial stuff)? Why would the greatest king in the history of Israel (the chosen people) ask God to inventory, assess and correct him? Who is capable of making darkness light (v:12). Could it be the only answer that means anything is God? "Lord ... give us Your light ... show us Your presence ... affirm that we are Your creation ... lead us in the way everlasting!" Randy