Sometimes, I’m reminded in a real way why I love the music of Rich Mullins so much.

I’ve spent a good amount of time today reading and studying Psalm 139. I’d call it a feel-good psalm. (Not all of them are.) Psalm 139 assures us of the omnipresence of God – that He is everywhere, knows everything, has his finger on the pulse of our lives at all times:

O LORD, you have searched me 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 know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.

I believe that…most of the time. Well, some of the time. Let me just say I want to believe it, and I do have a fundamental faith in an omnipresent God – one who is always with me, watches over me and is active in my going out and my lying down.

But what I relate to (more often than I like to admit) is not what the psalmist wrote, but what Rich Mullins wrote shortly before his death in the song “Hard to Get.” He penned these words:

You who live in heaven
Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth
Who are afraid of being left by those we love
And who get hardened by the hurt
Do you remember when You lived down here where we all scrape
To find the faith to ask for daily bread
Did You forget about us after You had flown away
Well I memorized every word You said
Still I’m so scared, I’m holding my breath
While You’re up there just playing hard to get

You who live in radiance
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin
We have a love that’s not as patient as Yours was
Still we do love now and then
Did You ever know loneliness
Did You ever know need
Do You remember just how long a night can get?
When You were barely holding on
And Your friends fall asleep
And don’t see the blood that’s running in Your sweat
Will those who mourn be left uncomforted
While You’re up there just playing hard to get?

And I know you bore our sorrows
And I know you feel our pain
And I know it would not hurt any less
Even if it could be explained
And I know that I am only lashing out
At the One who loves me most
And after I figured this, somehow
All I really need to know

Is if You who live in eternity
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in time
We can’t see what’s ahead
And we can not get free of what we’ve left behind
I’m reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears
All the words of shame and doubt, blame and regret
I can’t see how You’re leading me unless You’ve led me here
Where I’m lost enough to let myself be led
And so You’ve been here all along I guess
It’s just Your ways and You are just plain hard to get

It’s a struggle for me almost every day – to feel the presence of a God who loves me, and not perceive Him as some far-off being that cannot possibly be in touch with me, distant, playing hard to get. He is present. He hems me in. He delivers.

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One response »

  1. Great blog, Chuck. Love reading your thoughts. I also love Psalm 139 and I wrote a youth beach retreat on it when I was in youth ministry a couple years ago. The last section concerned me, where it gets a little violent and ugly. I even thought of leaving it out of the retreat. But I found a book C.S. Lewis wrote on the Psalms (in my public library of all places) and it changed the way I thought about what I’d seen as vindictive parts of the Psalms. I think you’d enjoy the book and Lewis’ thoughts.

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