You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. (Psalms 139:3–12, NIV 1984).
My Musings – A few years back, my wife Eileen treated me to a Father’s Day lunch at an out-of-town restaurant that was a favorite of mine. It must have been a satisfying lunch, because on our return trip, having just passed through the last town before our home just a few miles further, I “zoned out.” I’ve traveled that stretch of road countless times, and it is usually at this point I would set my cruise to 59 MPH. This was the last thing I recall until several miles down the road, approaching what is frequently a busy four-way stop, I snapped out of it.
There were two cars ahead of me waiting their turn at the intersection. There is no way I could have done this on my own, but I instantly realized that no matter how hard I applied the brakes, we were headed for a significant impact. Gazing beyond, I saw cars waiting their turn at the stop sign from the other direction. Again, I knew I could not avoid hitting them hard if I went left. My only choice was to take the ditch on the right, which I immediately did. On my best day, even when I was younger, my reflexes would not have been enough to react so swiftly. So, I know without a doubt, it was not me. But the story does not end there.
The point where I took the ditch was just past a metal guardrail on the right that would have re-directed me back onto the road and a sudden impact with the cars ahead. We missed it and went down the embankment. By all accounts, my crossover should have gone into a rollover, but it did not. Threading the needle between a telephone pole and an angled guide wire, we hit the embankment on our side of the crossroad. No cars, blocked our path as we crossed the road, entered the ditch on the other side, climbed the embankment on the far side of the ditch, and began to trespass on the front lawn of someone’s country home. Once again, the story does not end there.
Our car passed between a tree on the right and the access risers of their septic system on the left. From there we traveled another 25 feet or so before coming to “rest” against another tree. By that time, our vehicle had slowed sufficiently that the front airbags did not deploy. Somewhere along our short adventure the side air bags did deploy, probably when we hit the ditch on the left. Neither Eileen nor I were badly hurt. I had a bruise on the forehead and Eileen had a bruised ribcage from the shoulder restraint.
It was frightening enough for me as I watched all this unfold through the windshield. But imagine the terror my blind wife endured having no idea what was happening or when there might be a life-ending impact. But there was no such impact, that would have certainly taken our lives, and perhaps others in the cars ahead.
The maneuver that avoided this had to be perfectly timed and carefully executed. Which is why I know it was not me. He “[discerned] my [zoning out] and my [snapping out of it].” He “[hemmed] me in—behind and before; [He] laid [His] hand upon me.” As we “[settled] on the far side of the [road], [where His]…hand [guided us and]…[held us] fast.” “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.“
My Advice – As His followers, we are not creatures of luck or coincidence. Not everything will seem to work out as spectacularly as our road trip, but “all the days are ordained for [us are] written in [His] book before one of them [comes] to be.” (Psalm 139:16, NIV 1984). So, even when things seem be working out for us in a less than spectacular way, know this: “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV 1984). All the while, “He holds [us] fast.”