Where Can We Flee His Presence?
A Collect for Grace
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer
, page 100
I often spend my mornings beginning the day with this prayer found in our
Book of Common Prayer
. It is a powerful prayer that has transcended the ages. It offers to us a glimpse into the heart of a creator God who desires to be fully present and does not want anything, especially sin, to separate us from being connected to Him. After all, the primary reason He created us was for that purpose. His design was relational in nature. He is a God who chose interpersonal interaction that meant a unique type of intimacy with us that is exemplified in God’s self as Trinity. The object of His desire was love for both you and for me.
At times, this idea of “love” can be overwhelming. When I look at it closely, it is hard to imagine someone loving me with such enthusiasm. Despite my shortcomings, He delights in what He has created. He is a God who never tires when it comes to the circumstances of our lives. As inconsistent as life can be, His consistency never wavers. No matter what we face in life, He is always present. Often we may forget He is around, but I can assure you He never forgets about you.
It is in those trying times I’m often reminded of Psalm 139. Throughout this piece of poetry, we are reassured of who we are and to whom we belong. When we find ourselves feeling alone and afraid, the psalmist quickly reminds us we are not. Even when we choose to turn our back on God, He will never turn His back on us. Through baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit, our connection to our Maker is one that lasts for eternity.
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.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
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.
Wonderful are your works;
Psalm 139:7-14, NRSV