Do you suffer from spiritual vertigo?
It seems to me that this is what the psalmist is suffering from here. Clearly he (or she?) has an overwhelming sense of God’s shaping of his life and being even before his birth. Everything he is or says has its origins in the creator God’s will and purpose, he believes. Yet at the same time he knows himself to be an agent with his own will, purpose and action – no mere puppet. He has his own voice, his own agenda, his own work to do. How in earth can he reconcile these two descriptions of reality? ‘O God, how difficult I find your thoughts’!
We may be using terminology that he himself would not recognise – but it’s the same sense of vertigo we might feel if stop and reflect on who we are, as free agents with moral choices to make – and at the same time, beloved children of God, chosen, called and saved by grace. Both are true, even it might make our head spin a bit!
LORD, you have examined me
and you know me.
2 You know everything I do;
from far away you understand all my thoughts.
3 You see me, whether I am working or resting;
you know all my actions.
4 Even before I speak,
you already know what I will say.
5 You are all round me on every side;
you protect me with your power.
6 Your knowledge of me is too deep;
it is beyond my understanding.
13 You created every part of me;
you put me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because you are to be feared;
all you do is strange and wonderful.
I know it with all my heart.
15 When my bones were being formed,
carefully put together in my mother’s womb,
when I was growing there in secret,
you knew that I was there —
16 you saw me before I was born.
The days allotted to me
had all been recorded in your book,
before any of them ever began.
17 O God, how difficult I find your thoughts;
how many of them there are!
18 If I counted them, they would be more than the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with you.