“You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me… Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall 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 dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” “The Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” Psalm 139:5,7-10; Isaiah 52:12
There are times in life when we feel hemmed in by pressure, stressed by demands on us, restricted in movement by unexpected obstacles or unwanted fetters. We struggle to untangle from the cacophony of noise, murmuring, banter, opinion. We need space to think, to move. We want to break free. But God’s hemming in of us is gracious, loving, protective, free. It is a gift for which we should daily be thankful, and in which we can exercise joyful, confident movement.
To know that my Lord goes before me, counseling and teaching the way I should go, and that He is the shield round about me and the lifter of my head, assures me I am secure in Him. Within His wide care I can plumb the depths of His love and the far reaches of His grace. I can search out His wisdom like hidden treasure and tap into the limits of His knowledge and understanding. I can explore His paths of justice and righteousness, and climb high His mount of faithful promise. I can also love with abandon, interact with confidence, boldly spread abroad His truth, reach out in mercy and compassion, give with lavish generosity. In Him I am free to bear rich fruit and serve with gladness. (Psalm 3:3; 32:8; 57:10; 100:2; Proverbs 3:3-5,9-11; Galatians 5:1,22-23; Ephesians 3:18-19; Romans 11:33)
What obligations and responsibilities are squeezing you to the point of breathlessness? What troubles are choking your sense of calm? Is there a circumstance or sorrow that is ominously closing in and threatening to take you over? Can you see with spiritual eyes that even when present earthly pressures are many, when the world is mercilessly cruel, when winds of sadness blow and storms of doubt and confusion set our equilibrium reeling, we are hemmed in by almighty God? Being surrounded and held by Him, we have a peace that is other-worldly. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Father, thank You for hemming me in all about. Please help me to live and love, to work and serve, to know and honor You with the zeal and abandon You made me to do.