Monday, November 16, 2009

hemmed in

About a month ago, when I was visiting my sick friend up in Welches, I felt prompted to read Psalm 139. Ken sleeps most of the time I'm there, so I usually bring my Bible and have a leisurely "quiet time" while he's resting.

I flipped to the middle of my Bible and began to read one of the most beloved and oft-recited portions of scripture. I didn't get very far, because when I reached verse 5, I had an encounter with God.

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.

What does it mean to be hemmed in? I wondered as I read the verse. The thought hadn't even finished forming when I sensed the Lord's presence, pressing in upon me from all sides. I felt surrounded--or hedged in, as some translations put it--by God's comfort and peace.

The finite hemmed in by infinite Love!

Since that morning, whenever I think about that verse, I experience God's "hemming" all over again. It must be how a newborn feels when it's snugly swaddled: warm, safe, secure, content and unafraid.

I can't make a wrong move when I'm in that place. I can't worry about the future because I'm so peaceful in His presence.

If only I could learn how to stay within His divine hedges . . .