Our friend Colin spoke in the Sunday morning service here in Ashton a few weeks ago.
Colin's a good guy, and is preparing to pursue full-time undergraduate studies at Nazarene Theological College soon.
He chose Psalm 139 as his text, a passage that easily cracks our top-ten favorite psalms and also inspired the lyrics to a little-known MercyMe song from their pre-famous, playing-church-camps days.
"O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways...
"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it. Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast...
"For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made...
"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 (NRSV)
It is, as Colin noted, an intensely personal psalm. Note the repeated use of the word "you" and "I," for examples! The writer, King David, shows honesty and integrity in the face of (repeated) failure and confusion. He was a murderer, and adulterer, and a selfish leader...but he was also "a man after God's own heart." The difference, it seems, was his willingness to allow God to continually reshape and refocus his thoughts, speech, and actions.
"I know from personal experience that seeking God honestly can be scary...terrifying even!" Colin testified. "God doesn't wish to see any of us hurting. He doesn't want tot see us n pain. But he can and does use these experiences to teach and strengthen us."