Thursday: Psalm 139; Nehemiah 12.27-47; Acts 27.27-44

From: James Flaherty

I don’t think many passages in the Bible inspire awe like Psalm 139. Try reading it and really picturing what it describes. It’s like going to a different planet, or at least some rapturously beautiful place, completely unlike ours, completely mind-boggling.

God knows, right now, intimately, every thought you’ll ever have, every day you’ll ever live, every physical element of you, and every thing you’ll ever do.

Now—hold that feeling, don’t forget it—read Acts 27. You’re in jail. You upset some people. And you didn’t have to; you’ve brought this on yourself in a way. The people you love are far away. You’re not kept busy or even on a schedule. Your diet’s probably awful. You’re stuck on a boat. There’s a northeaster. You’re at the mercy of crazed, starving people. They become so stressed they consider murdering you and the other prisoners.

Remarkably, mind-bogglingly, Paul tells his captors, “Hey, it’s going to be OK. Buck up. Have something to eat. Let me pray for us. I have some bread. I care about you all.”

This is not how we live!

Love your captors—those who are hurting you, who are doing you wrong. Love them today. Pray for them, which is to say, wish for their good, for God’s care for them. And retain no wrongdoing. Cling to no burden. Love God. Hope for God. He’s the God of Psalm 139, right now, for your present. It’s not a remote place Psalm 139 describes. It’s the life Paul lived, in faith—and it’s finding in your faith sufficient peace, joy, and gratitude to be a stinking, malnourished, life-threatened prisoner and basically keep a positive attitude about it. Life can really be like that. 

I live in Boston with my wife and daughter.