In the late 1950’s there was a detective series on TV called, ‘No Hiding Place.’ Some of you may remember it! The title of the programme reminds me of Psalm 139 v6-11. These verses offer the idea of the impossibility of hiding from or of escaping from God.
‘Where could I go to escape from You? Where could I get away from Your presence?’ (v7).
At first reading this sounds like a cry of despair! But that is to miss the point, for this is in fact a cry of joy, a cry of joyful astonishment that wherever and whenever, God will always be there to lead, to guide and to hold.
God will be there when everything is good, when life is going well; ‘If I went up to Heaven, You would be there (v8);
When life seems like a living hell, when all you feel like doing is giving up… God will be there; ‘If I lay down in the world of the dead, You would be there’ (8).
God will be there when you can’t make sense of things, when you are confused and you want to run away; ‘If I flew away beyond the East or lived in the farthest place in the West, You would be there to lead me, You would be there to help me (v9).
God will be there when all you want to do is to crawl away into the darkest little place you can find; ‘I could ask the darkness to hide me or the light round me to turn into night, but even darkness is not dark for you, and the night is as bright as the day (v11-12).
How good it is to know that whatever we are going through, whatever is happening in our lives or in the world… God is there with us… and we CANNOT escape from His presence.
How good it is to know that no matter how deep the pit is into which we have fallen, God is in it with us, and His loving arms are beneath us to catch us when we reach the bottom.
The whole world has been through, and is still going through a time of great grief and pain, and God has been, and still is in it with us.
Thank You Father for ‘Emmanuel, God with us.’
Joan Grenfell (Anna Chaplain)