Psalm 139

It is hardly an exaggeration to say I never expected to end up in China.

In fact, up until four years ago the thought had never even crossed my mind.

Fall photo shoot at Lion Hill Park, Nanning, China.

But I’ve mentioned countless times on this blog God’s overwhelming faithfulness in leading both my husband and I to China, in accompanying us every step along the way, and in making God’s presence known and palpable, often through new friends and relationships, during difficult times.

This morning I took some time out on my perch here on our veranda in the cool morning breeze, the faint sounds of the city of 6.7 million in which we live filtering up from below.

A view of the city of Nanning, nestled against the Yong River.

I took some time to hear God.

And the knowledge that God knew our path to China before we knew it (Psalm 139:3-4), that even as we settled at the farthest limits of the sea, God is there (9)–well, that knowledge truly is too wonderful for me, so high that I cannot attain it (16)!

To me the words of this psalm are overwhelmingly meaningful because this is not the first time God has gone with me, nor will it be the last.  From the dusty border towns of Mexico, to the urban slums of Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, to the rolling countrysides of China and their meager way of life, or the bustling metropolises, God is there.

The border in Agua Prieta, Mexico, where I spent a summer working with Presbyterian Border Ministries.
Leading kids in an afterschool program in song in Anacostia, Washington, DC.
Children in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
Young girls at a Bible Training School in the countryside of Yunnan, China.
The city of Guilin, China, fusing ancient and modern landscapes.

While perhaps I only momentarily pause to consider God’s words, the revelation that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (14), the fact that my mere life has ever been on the heart and the mind of that of God far before I came into being is truly beyond my comprehension (15-16).

How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them! (17)

God, may any anger in me be righteous, directed toward the roots of evil in this world, manmade systems of injustice, poverty, suffering, and inequality.  May that angst lead me to be a servant of yours who humbly recognizes my own wickedness, my own limitations, and deficiencies (21-24).

Hot peppers as seen in Guilin, China.

The smells of roasting garlic, hot peppers, and soy sauce are beginning to waft over to my nose, evidence that day is breaking here in China.  A friend who visited us recently asked me as we stood on this very balcony, do you not just pinch yourself sometimes, and say, I’m in China?  How did all this happen?

And I do.  Today I stand in awe of you, Lord, how perfect are your plans, how wise, how true.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.  See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  (Psalm 139:23-24)

Amen.

*All photos are by Evan Schneider.

**This post was inspired by Liza De Younge at Enjoy Elle Jay‘s Psalm 139 Bible Study.  Thanks, Liza, for your great study!

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