Sunday, August 5, 2012

Hemmed In

You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me. (Psalm 139:5)

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking these past few days about what it means for God to go before me.  As I continue to walk along these unfamiliar paths, I'm trying to look for the ways He is going before me to make the rough places smooth and to turn the darkness into light (Isaiah 42:16).

In my study this week, verse after verse confirmed something so precious I have to share it with you:

Not only does God go before us, but He is also behind us.

In other words...

We’re bookended by God

(Forgive me for thinking in bookish terms. I’m a book editor; I can’t help it.)

I love this verse in particular: “You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me” (Psalm 139:5).

No matter what our circumstances, you and I are hemmed in by His love.

Hemmed in by His grace. 

Hemmed in by His protection.

We are hemmed in by God.

This reality hit me like… well, like a flicker of grace this past week. As I mentioned, I'm a book editor. And I’ve been working on creating a compilation of Max Lucado stories. (Yes, I actually get PAID to read Max Lucado books. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it!)

While I was skimming through Max’s previous books, looking for stories of (of all things) second chances, I suddenly had this striking realization:
When my husband walked out nine months ago, I was in the middle of working on a Max Lucado compilation. With eyes blurred by tears of grief, I read story after story of God’s grace and comfort and peace.

And when the divorce was finalized a couple of weeks ago, I was in the middle of working on another Max Lucado compilation. Again through my grief, I read tear-stained story after story of God’s grace and comfort and peace.

Coincidence? Of course not.

God bookended my storm with His love.

He went before me. And He is behind me. And according to Psalm 139:5, He is also over me, sheltering me with His hand of blessing. The Lord stands beside me (Psalm 121:5 NLT). And underneath are His everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27).

He's before me, behind me, above me, beside me, and under me. 

I’m utterly surrounded by God.
And so are you.

No matter how abandoned, overlooked, unappreciated, hurt, or insignificant you feel, you are hemmed in—bookended--completely surrounded by our great and faithful God.

Whatever you have done, wherever you are, whatever has been done to you... I'm praying that you feel bear-hugged today--this moment--by God's all-surrounding, everlasting, unfailing love.

Allow me to borrow Neal Plantinga's blessing to pray over you:

God go before you to lead you, God go behind you to protect you, 
God go beneath you to support you, God go beside you to befriend you. 
Do not be afraid.
May the blessing of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be upon you. 
Do not be afraid.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.


  1. oh wow. takes my breath away. reading this brought a holy moment

    1. Thank you so much, Pauline. Our God is so good to surround me with His love and with precious friends like you! Love and hugs to you, my dear friend.

  2. This blessing has been the benediction at our church for several weeks now and I love it and all the symbolism and beauty that comes with it. Loved reading your thoughts on the way gods protection is there for us.

    1. Thanks so much, Tammy! I've been praying for you and your family these past few months as well. I, too, love the beauty and symbolism of this benediction--there's something so powerful about a spoken blessing that reminds us of our great, big God! I miss you--hopefully we can get together at a Moms Club reunion soon! Hugs to you and your sweet family. :)