Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Hail Thou Once Despised Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 139:1-2,4 – O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I'm far away. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. (NLT)
My barely school-aged children decided to become independent in a big city when we had to ride a streetcar home. Instead of standing beside me, they spread out, taking whatever seats were available. So, they weren't paying attention at our stop and remained seated, looking out the windows. Panicked, I bellowed, "Everybody off the streetcar!"
To my astonishment, all the riders on the car began to get to their feet. Oh, dear! Canada: where nobody questioned authority, even when it wore a polka-dot dress with a loaf of bread under one arm.
"No, no!" I yelled again, "Just the children." I waved my hands to indicate "Sit down." Then, red-faced, my three followed me off the car, to a little derisive clapping.
What to do? I decided to give each child a code name from Greek literature: Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, and Menelaus. "When I say your code name, get up immediately and follow me, okay?" They agreed. The first time I used their codes, however, as we left the car, I heard one rider say to another, "Those poor kids, going through life with names like that!"
Thank heavens, we don't need any rituals or codes (or anyone or any institution) between us and our God. It is a common mistake to think that God is too busy to know or care about what happens to us, as though praying is one of those deals where we take a number and wait. But with God, the great I AM, there is just Him and us in an immediate and intimate relationship. Some of the best testimonials to this experience come from David the psalmist, who talked about his personal, intimate relationship with God, both when he was a shepherd boy and when he was king of Israel. God not only knows all the details of our story, someone said, He wrote it!
Yet still, in spite of all the evidence and our experience of God's loving care, often we neglect to turn to Him and listen for His answer. Answering us is what omnipotence is all about. Instead, we are anxious as we ride along on life's streetcar. Fear, someone said, is just low-grade atheism. Let us rather develop our trust and faith, for He has promised never to leave us or forsake us.
Prayer: Dear Father God, our hope is built on nothing less than Your promised assurance through Christ Jesus. We see Your grace abound toward us, and in faith, we walk a life of joy and peace with You in the sunshine and the psalm. You saw us plunged in deep distress and flew to our relief. For us You bore the shameful cross and carried all our grief. To You, our wise counsellor and guide, we give thanks and praise, in Jesus' name. Amen.