O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it. (Psalm 139:1-6)
As I reflect on this Psalm, I feel some ambivalence. It is so wonderful and comforting to think that I am known so completely. It is a strong affirmation of God’s connection in my life, and that I am loved and cared for. There is nowhere I go that God is not with me. However, God sees all the bad along with the good, knows all my failings and weaknesses, and watches closely to see how intentionally I live my faith. This is a bit scary when you think about it!
The greatest comfort I receive from this passage at this point in time is that God is walking each and every step of the way with all of us through this pandemic. Many of us are truly struggling and mourning that we cannot meet together face-to-face to worship, but God is with us, and by our faith, we are constantly connected through God’s Spirit. God knows us completely. God knows how hard this pandemic time has been on all of us. Those who have contracted COVID-19 and those who have not; those who have lost loved ones and friends, and those lucky enough to have loved ones safe and sound; those who have lost jobs and are struggling financially, and those who are working and more secure. God knows our struggles, our fears, our losses, and our grief. God knows our frustrations and our loneliness and our concerns. God knows everything we are feeling and everything we are hoping for and everything we need. God forgives us when we are impatient and judgmental and critical of our leadership in this pandemic time.
Know this: God’s hand is upon us. God will see us through this. God will not leave us. And God knows exactly what we need. Trust God. Trust that this time will pass and that God will be with us through every challenge that is to come. And know this as well: God will rejoice with us and celebrate the day we can all gather together in a safe, healthy, and restored community.
Ever-present, ever-attentive, and ever-gracious God. Thank you for being with us, for guiding us, for knowing us, and for loving us. Continue to guide us through this troubled time, and give us patience and strength to emerge on the other side, together. We pray this in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).