Our Storied Lives
Richard L. Floyd
"In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed." - Psalm 139:16
In Psalm139, an introspective reflection on life with God, the Psalmist asks, "Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?"
Even if one wanted to get away from God there is no place to do it. As the final verse of Isaac Watts' hymn I Sing the Mighty Power of God puts it: "While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care; And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God art present there."
This divine intimacy is heightened even more in verse 16, where the Psalmist imagines that he is very much like a character in a story that God has written.
This makes sense to me. After all, we are storied creatures. There is no essential "I" apart from the story I am living, which is populated with a multi-generational cast of thousands. There's Mom and Dad, of course, but also their moms and dads and "their sisters and their cousins and their aunts." There's my nearest and dearest and the great cloud of witnesses in heaven and on earth. There's Abraham and Sarah, Moses and Miriam, Mary and Joseph and, above all, Jesus, the central figure in the story.
It is quite a story. It begins "in the beginning," and ends only in God's own good Time. And, praise be! God has written me into it, giving me a part to play, and, oh look, you have one too!
O God, you have formed us and known us, now grant us the wisdom and courage to live out our stories as you have imagined them.