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Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day,for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139:7-12

I am currently sitting on the front deck of my favorite place in the world, Tybee Island, Georgia. When we were in Uganda, going through their legal system and the international requirements to attain legal guardianship of our youngest daughter, I spent many days in the U.S. Embassy for appointments to that end. On the wall were about eight pictures of "Life in America!" The only one I remember is one featuring the Georgia coast, a place I love dearly, that felt so very far away in that stressful process.

Similarly, God's peace and sovereignty has felt remote and merely factual in the past few months. It has continued to be a fact that anchors me, but the unchartered waters of such polarized perspectives on all the same events in our country from the wearing of masks to the urgency of dismantling systemic racism, has left me feeling as powerless and disoriented as I often did sitting before a Ugandan judge or waiting in the Ugandan immigration facility or navigating their medical system to make sure Martha Jane was medically allowed to immigrate to America.

This week, I have taken Facebook and Twitter off of my phone. I haven't binge-watched any detective procedurals, as much as they have been my favorite escape. I have barely checked the "news" because most of it seems to be about one side calling out another, who is right and who is an idiot. Instead, I am staring at the ocean through the palm trees and island foliage. Instead, I have paddle boarded over to the uninhabited island of Little Tybee with my family and enjoyed the crabs, herons, seagulls, pelicans, horseshoe crabs, and even a shark sighting! Instead, I am reading books again. Instead, I am enjoying long lingering dinners filled with great stories of family history and deep laughter. My soul is gaining space again to see and hear and know that God is absolutely still good and trustworthy and active and in control.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

John Onwuchekwa, one of my favorite pastors in America (and I don't think I know any outside of America?), spoke about Psalm 139 in a way that has redirected my prayers. He acknowledged that most of us go to God telling Him where we are and where we need to go. Psalm 139 invites God to tell us where we are and where He is taking us. It assumes that God knows more than we do, sees more than we do, understands more than we do, controls more than we can, and is not limited by time and space in the way we are. I can return the mic to Him, I can return my calendar and goals and plans to His direction. I don't need to tell Him where to take me or the world around me nor give Him a time table.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46


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