Psalm 139, which is beloved by so many, is a favorite of mine.
LORD, you search me and you know me: you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar.When I read through the psalm, I feel the invitation from God and God’s intense and personal love for us. It seems like God is longing to have us know how cherished we are in each moment of our lives – and even before.
Recently, I had an experience that gave Psalm 139 a new power. I went with my daughter and son-in-law and to see an ultrasound of the baby they expect in early January.
I watched as my daughter’s growing belly was covered in gel and the assistant, Mary, rolled a small wand across it. Some fuzzy pictures began to appear. Looking like a weather radar, it was unclear at first.
“Here is the spine,” Mary told us, pointing to the string of tiny white bones.
With all my ways you are familiar. Even before a word is on my tongue, LORD, you know it all.As she moved the wand, suddenly the room filled with the strong sound of my grandchild’s heartbeat. The much over-used word “awesome” came to my mind, the literal one, as in: filled with awe. With that clear and distinct rhythmic thump, we were struck again by the realization that the baby is a living being,
Behind and before you encircle me and rest your hand upon me.I was certain of the hand of God resting on this child as the baby turned toward the wand and Mary said, “Let’s put this in 3D.” Suddenly from out of the ghostly images was a human face. “This one has chubby cheeks,” she chuckled.
There was the image of a real face on the screen with those darling cheeks. I turned to my son-in-law and noted that the baby would certainly inherit his dimples. I realized that with that last image, I had left the chair where I intended to sit quietly and was standing at my daughter’s side, hand on her arm, astonished at what we were all seeing.
Even there your hand guides me, your right hand holds me fast.She switched views and we returned to the less distinct images with Mary narrating what we were seeing. Then we could clearly see the baby’s fingers moving. As we watched, this already-loved child reached down, grabbed its toes and pulled its leg up to its head. There, in the darkness of my beloved daughter’s womb, with her husband watching along, their child was stretching, dancing, doing yoga or perhaps just feeling a joyful dance of life.
Darkness is not dark for you, and night shines as the day. Darkness and light are but one.Image by Jeff Oliver under a Creative Commons license.