Good morning, Friends!
I’ve got a really simple message for you this morning. God is everywhere. And God knows everything.
That’s it! We can all go home now!
God is everywhere. And God knows everything.
You’re all still here? Nobody walked out and left? Well, I guess we need to go into a little more detail.
A couple of weeks ago, we read Psalm 121 together. It says, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. . .”
And it goes on to say that God never sleeps. God watches where you put your feet. God looks out for you. God knows when you go out, and when you come home. God will keep you from all evil. God will guard your life. And God will do all this, “from this time forth, and forevermore. . .”
Today we’re going to push this a little farther. Because God doesn’t just know a lot of stuff. God knows us inside and out. God knows us before we’re born. God knows everything there is to know about us.
Our reading is from one of the Psalms of the Old Testament, from Psalm 139.
Lord, you have searched me, and you know me.
You know when I sit down, and when I get up; you read my thoughts from far away.
You notice everything I do, and everywhere I go.
Even before a word is on my tongue, Lord, you know it already.
You are behind me and in front of me; you lay your hand upon me.
This is beyond my understanding; it is a mystery; I cannot understand it.
Where can I go to get away from your Spirit?
Where can I hide from your presence?
If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I lie down in the grave, you are there.
Suppose I had wings like the dawning day, and flew across the ocean; even then your hand would be guiding me, and your right hand would hold me.Psalm 139
If I say, “The darkness will hide me; the night will hide what I am doing,” the darkness is not dark to you. The night is as light as the day. Darkness and light are the same to you.
It is you who created me. You put me together inside my mother’s body. I praise you, because you have made me in an amazing and wonderful way. Like everything you do, it is marvelous. I know this so well.
You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in the womb; when I was being put together there, you saw me.
You saw all the days of my life, and you wrote them in your book, before I was even born.
Lord, how weighty your thoughts seem to me! And how great is their number! If I could count them, they would be more than all the grains of sand. And when I finish, I am still with you.
How I wish that there would be no cruel and heartless people in the world. Protect me from them! They say evil things about you, and they use your name without meaning it.
Lord, you know that I hate this, and I am disgusted when people attack you. I hate this in my heart, and I am not on their side.
Search me, God, and know my heart. Look into my thoughts. See if there is any wrong in me, and lead me on the road to everlasting life.
OK, here’s your question for the day. For all the marbles, somebody tell me, who knows you best? Who knows you better than anybody else, in the whole wide world?
God. God knows you better, deeper, more fully, more completely, down to the last corner of your soul, than anyone else.
God knows everything in the whole world. The Bible says that God knows every star in the sky. That’s a lot of stars!
Jesus says that God knows every sparrow that falls to the ground. I looked it up this week, and scientists estimate that there are over 1.6 billion sparrows in the world. I don’t know who made that estimate, but that’s a lot of sparrows.
Jesus says that God counts every hair on your head. Depending on your age and the color of your hair, most people have between 90,000 and 150,000 individual hairs on top. Blonde people have the most; redheads have the least. But blonde, black, brown or red, God’s got a pretty good count on all of them.
Psalm 139 says that God knows “all the days of my life, and wrote them in a book, before I was even born.”
We may forget that God knows all this stuff. But God doesn’t forget. God is fully aware of all these things, all the time.
If I were a little kid, or if I was literally minded, I might ask, “Why would God care about this? Why would God bother to count sparrows, or keep track of hairs?”
The answer is, this is just a metaphor for what God knows. This is just an example. In reality, God knows way much more about every one of us.
You don’t have to tell me, but what is your deepest, strongest wish? What’s something you really, really want?
Do you think God knows your wish? Do you think God knows what you’re wishing for? Do you think God knows why you’re wishing for it? Do you think God understands everything about your deepest wish?
Or, let me ask something else. What is the proudest moment of your life? What was a time when you felt completely, overwhelmingly happy?
Could have been yesterday. Could have been when you were a child. Could have been when someone you cared about said, “I do!” Could have been when you held a baby in your arms, or when they said they love you.
What was a time when you were so happy you could hardly stand it? Do you think God knows about that moment in time?
Or, what was the time of deepest grief that you’ve ever felt? Do you think God knows about that, too? Do you think God has ever forgotten that dark and painful time?
Almost everyone has a time they wish they could completely forget, a time of shame, a word or a decision they could undo or take back, a time they wish they could just wipe out.
Do you think God knows about those times in your life?
Let me tell you something. If the good news of Jesus Christ means anything, if what Jesus said is in any way to be trusted, then God not only knows all about those awful times. But God has forgiven them, long ago.
You don’t have to carry the burden, any longer. You don’t have to be guilty or ashamed. Today’s Scripture says, “Lord, you have searched me, and you know me. . .”
There’s no such thing as hiding from God. Hiding from God doesn’t even exist. There is no place we can go, to get away from God. “If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I lie down in the grave, you are there. If I had wings and flew across the ocean, God, you would still find me; your hand would guide me and hold me. . .”
This is one of the most fundamental facts of the spiritual life. God is everywhere, and God knows everything.
God knows you better than anyone else. God even knows you better than you know yourself.
And you know something else? God loves you. God was crazy in love with you, before you were even born. Back before you were a twinkle in your parents’ eye. God loved you, before your parents even thought about you.
And that love has never stopped. All through your life, you have been loved. God knows every breath you take. God knows every good thought you have.
God knows every prayer you’ve ever said. And as Paul says, when you don’t know how to pray, when you can’t even find the words, the Holy Spirit prays for you. God says the awkward prayers you can’t say yourself. God feels every one of the unspoken prayers of your heart.
God knows every sunrise you ever watch. God knows every time you hold someone’s hand, and every time you reach out, whether the other person reaches back or not.
And remember, it’s not just that God knows these nice things. God knows every part of our lives. And God loves us, even in our darkest moments.
If you think there’s any place in your heart where God doesn’t love you, then you don’t understand this most basic thing.
It doesn’t mean God wants us to stay in the dark. It’s not dark to God, but God wants to let the light shine in every place where we’re lost or wounded or angry or ashamed.
God loves. God prays. God forgives, everywhere in our lives. God wants us to turn around, and head back in the right way. One of the greatest lines in the Bible is, “Draw near to God, and God will draw near to you. . .” (James 4:8)
Jesus told a story once, about someone who had completely messed up their life.
He rejected his family, destroyed their trust, ran away to another country, blew his entire inheritance, and wound up on the street. He was starving, and then one day he woke up and decided the only thing was to turn around and come back.
Does this story sound at all familiar?
Jesus said that the father in the story didn’t even wait for the son to come crawling back home and eat crow. The father came running to meet the child who had done all these terrible things.
When we take one step toward God, God comes running to meet us. Because that’s just the way God is.
God doesn’t ignore all the things that are going on in our lives. God never forgets any part of us.
Part of what happens during our time of open worship, or during any time of quiet prayer, is that we’re remembering that we’re remembered. We’re opening up the parts of our lives which we think we’ve been successfully hiding from God. And we’re realizing that God knew us best, all along.
I sometimes think that God knows me better than I know myself. And it’s like God knows the best side of me, the way I could be.
Have you ever seen a refrigerator magnet, or a bumper sticker, that says, “Lord, help me to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am!”
Actually, God already knows our better side. And God’s always calling us to be that better person. God knows us, exactly as we are. God loves us, all the way from our beginning, and beyond whatever we think is our end.
And because God knows us so well, God knows we can be our better selves, our best selves.
Paul says that right now, we don’t see everything. It’s like we see the world through a foggy mirror. We don’t know a fraction of what’s here, and what’s real. We don’t see everything that God sees.
But one day, Paul says, we will put aside our childish ways, and we will see God face to face.
We will understand what God has understood all along. We will have the full story, not just the small part we know now. We will know as we have always been known.