Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Before Me and Behind Me

"You hem me in behind and before, You lay Your hand upon me." Psalm 139:5 NIV
"You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head." Psalm 139:5 NLT
"You have enclosed be behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me." Psalm 139:5 NASB
"Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me." Psalm 139:5 KJV
"You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand upon me." Psalm 139:5 HCSB

September is a very reflective month for me, not just the reflections induced by the restarting of school and classes, but the reflection that frequently accompanies birthdays. Three of our five children were born in September. One of those was our son Cooper.

He pushed his way into the world weighing a solid 9lbs. 11oz. and God bless him he has never looked back. Now, at 17, he stands 6 feet tall and weighs, well let's just say he looks the part of being an adult. Our son was diagnosed with Autism when he was 18 months old, and he has been greatly impacted, our family has been greatly impacted also.

Cooper has two older sisters and one week before his birthday in 2005 he was blessed with two younger sisters. He is right in the middle of four girls. I have often joked, that is probably why he doesn't talk much.

Some of the struggles our family has faced over the years are unique, while others are probably very similar to yours. So I think you will understand when I say, as parents of a child with their own different challenges and circumstances we cling tighter to some verses than we do others. I suppose like most we read through the lens of our existence, through our own God-given perspective. 

I have always held closely to my heart verses like:

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalms 139:14 NIV

This is a wonderful affirmation of the incredible gifts we are given in the children God has placed with us.

Then there are the verses leading up to Psalms 139:5...

"Oh Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it all together." Psalms 139:1-4

I need to know this, not just for myself, but for my children. There is incredible comfort and peace in that knowledge, in knowing whatever happens, God already knows. As we face the challenges of parenting all of our children, we have to stand on the stable ground of knowing this one thing...

God knows.

He knows me.

He knows my children.

But then, there is that 5th verse:

"You hem me in behind and before, You lay your hand upon me."  Psalms 139:5 NIV

You see with that one, I don't just get to know it.

I get to see it.

I have always kind of chuckled at the fact that our one son has, in fact, ended up surrounded by girls. It's an interesting conversation with new people, a cute story, a different way to present our family.

However, one day, I read that verse with new eyes.

"You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid your hand upon me." Psalm 139:5 NASB

Hemmed in, encircled, surrounded.

They go before him and behind him.

I see the living breathing word of God exist in my family.

What an incredible picture. We don't always have that so clearly and beautifully displayed for us.

So I look at my children and I know that they are thoughtfully created, wonderfully made by a God who doesn't just know them...

He is with them.

He is with us.

He is with you.

God, I am thankful for the living breathing display of Your word. Thankful that You care about the smallest of details and thankful that You do not just plan and orchestrate. God, You walk with us. Your hand is laid on us and You go before and behind, Father you encircle and surround. God, I pray for every mother and father and child that looks around searching for Your presence, open their hearts and their eyes and reveal Yourself to them. God fill them with the peace and comfort that can come only from knowing and seeing You. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.

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