Psalm 139 - Practical Atheist
My granddaughter (let’s pick two-year-old Emily, but it could be any of them at that age) covers her head with a blanket. For a few moments the adults say “Where is Emily? Where is Emily? I don’t see her. Where could she have gone?”
Emily then pulls the blanket off her head and laughs loudly because she has been found. The adults then say, “There she is.” Emily is pretending to hide from everyone else, but she knows it is only a game and we are all still there.
It is no laughing matter when we as adults pretend we are hiding from God or don’t experience God’s presence. Sometimes we think God is only present when we are worshipping and we go about the rest of our week as if God did not exist. Sometimes we engage in behavior or speech as if God was not watching. Sometimes we feel abandoned by God.
Too many of us are practical atheists. Like Emily, we spend money and we treat others and we ignore the poor as if we had a blanket over our head and there is no God. In a similar way, we sometimes wonder if God is present in the midst of our troubles and our disasters.
In good times and bad, it is crucial that we remember God is always with us. We Christians believe that God is omnipresent and omniscient. Put in other words, God is everywhere and knows everything.
Psalm 139:9 says, “If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.”
This is a comfort when we are afraid. We know that God is supporting us regardless of how bad our situation appears. I have often said to myself that God will get us through this situation, even though I cannot see the path myself.
At the same time, I am committed to the path of holiness of heart and life 24/7/365.
My goal is to love God with all of my heart, soul and mind and to love the neighbor as myself. That also requires God’s sanctifying grace and presence in my life. Knowing that God is always with me strengthens me on my spiritual journey.
Bishop Scott J. Jones is serves as the resident bishop of the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Bishop Jones regularly blogs and comments on matters of theology, faith and morality at www.extremecenter.com, on Facebook at Extreme Center. He is passionate about providing thorough, unbiased and well-researched information to UMC congregants regarding the United Methodist Church.
He is the author of several books, including The Once and Future Wesleyan Movement, (2016), Ask: Faith Questions in a Skeptical Age, (with Arthur Jones, 2015) and The Wesleyan Way: A Faith that Matters (2013), among others.
Bishop Jones is married to Mary Lou Reece, who is president of Reece Construction Company. They have three children: Jameson, Arthur and Marynell. In his free time, Bishop Jones enjoys hiking, biking, scuba diving, water skiing, snow skiing, and is an avid reader.
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