O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them—they are more than the sand; I come to the end—I am still with you.
I have loved this video by Sir Elton ever since it came out in 1983. I often find myself singing it at times when I feel like "I've been through a lot."
But what I truly wish was I could sit and sing it today along with the young man Elizabeth encountered and conversed with in this post. Elizabeth met a man who actually believed he was going to be raptured on May 21. So much so, in fact, that he came out of the closet to his parents. His rationale? "I only have 12 days before it doesn't matter. I can live with it for 12 days."
Yesterday, I thought about this young man off and on all day. So did Elizabeth, and she expresses additional thoughts about him here. I have to admit, I've prayed about this young man and others in his situation for several days--the people who earnestly believed they would get to shake off this mortal coil and escape all that pains them grievously--because in my heart, I know it doesn't work like that.
My experience of healing is that it is an incredibly messy trip--and it will never be "right" (aka "The outcomes I'd prefer")--but over time, it's "right enough." I don't think it's ever fully "right" until we die, and become one with all of it, but over time, it becomes right enough that I can stand in the yard and sing "I'm still standin'" along with Sir Elton.
I get angry sometimes that Psalm 139 has been co-opted by the evangelical "Right to life" movement, because there is so much more in this Psalm than "describing a fetus." It is about the wonder of our individuality, and about constantly being in the presence and care of God.
I admit, the whole "Rapture" thing bugs me. I've said this before; it seems like a giant escape fantasy--that for some reason the "chosen" or the "elect" or the "saved" get to be spared from the messy business of dealing with sin--our sins and the sins of others--in an imperfect world.
I look back, and I see where I've come from, and where I am; where I've been and where it seems I'm going--and it has been the messy bits of life in which I have most closely felt the presence of God. It's where I have grown the most in my Christian walk. It's where I'v better learn to accept other for who THEY are.
So why would I desire to be taken from this world?
It just makes no sense to put our hope into being removed from the world, to be in the presence of God, when "people meeting people" is how we most effectively transmit the presence of God.
I have said this many times. I would never want to live the awful parts of my life twice. But I am okay I have lived them once. When I have chosen to hear God in them, when I have been open to the possibilities of transformation in them, what I learned from them for "what I needed to know in the next phase of my life" has been invaluable.
I suspect this has not been an isolated experience. I suspect others have experienced similar things. They're still standin'. So am I. I pray the young man in Elizabeth's story realizes that it's not that he didn't get "raptured," but that he's still here...and he's still gay...and his family still knows...and he's still standin'.