You have searched me, Lord, and You know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue You, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and You lay Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You.
For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are Your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with You.
If only You, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak of You with evil intent; Your adversaries misuse Your name.
Do I not hate those who hate You, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against You?
I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Greetings from my home base in Milan!
I had a very nice visit at my new part-time home in North Carolina—a great visit with family and friends, a good rest, and the opportunity to connect with new friends. Each day I pray for divine appointments, both for myself and for the missionaries and pastors that I pray for daily. Many of these new friends are the direct result of those divine appointments.
In one of my first encounters back home in Milan a man at a local church asked me to pray for him to “feel the presence of God.” Of course, this made me extremely sad. If he’s a believer, then he’s already got the presence of God—always. It made me wonder if he’s being discipled at all because he should know that. Unfortunately, because this was actually during the church service, I didn’t have time or the opportunity to explain all this to him or to his leaders, but instead just had a moment to pray, which I did. I prayed that he would come to understand the omnipresence of God that has never left him and never will leave him. Afterward, he left before I could explain anything.
This is sadly typical of the Church (the universal Body of Christ) in Italy. They get hooked on that wonderful feeling of God’s presence, but have little understanding of God, Himself. None of us “feels” God’s presence all the time. That’s where faith is so important. Faith is based on facts, not on feelings. We must believe that He is right here with us at all times and through all circumstances. Sometimes it feels like our prayers echo back off the ceiling unheard. I have felt this especially in the midst of depression. Read Psalm 139 to understand what the facts are. Psalm 139 is an assurance not just of God’s presence, but of His intimate knowledge of each of us—especially believers. He hears our prayers even before the words are formed on our lips. More than that, Romans 8:26-27 tells us that the Holy Spirit searches our heart and intercedes (prays) for us according to God’s will.
If you are suffering from depression or otherwise not feeling God’s presence, read Psalm 139—in fact, read it aloud daily—and take comfort from it. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). If God is on your side, that’s all you need to live a victorious life!