July 1

Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them? says the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the Lord. Jeremiah 23:24 

Anyone who loves God is known by him. I Corinthians 8:3

I was just listening to some summer pool safety tips. In grad school I learned a lot about the dangers of swimming pools (and swimming in lakes too) and the program reminded me that the number one cause of death for kids 1-4 is drowning. What can help prevent this? Some basic things like locked fences around pools, wearing proper flotation devices, teaching kids to swim.  But the main 3 things were: an adult must be watching all the time. For non-swimmers and the little kids, someone needs to be within arm’s length of the child. And, the one that reminded me of Jeremiah – remove the pool toys when the adult is not right there, maybe playing too. Kids cannot be seen behind some of these toys and they could go under and drown before anyone notices. They could be hidden from those watching.  Parents and other adults need to know the children, their abilities and to be continually on watch.

Our verses for today both talk about God knowing us, about Him seeing us; there is nowhere for us to hide. Some may see this continual watching by God as a scary thing. After all, we aren’t always acting the way we think we should. Isn’t this sort of like kids as Christmas nears? Santa is watching and looking for the naughty and nice. The nice, well-behaved child gets the good stuff; the naughty child gets the coal in their stockings. And Jeremiah tells us that God fills heaven and earth, there is nowhere to hide. No large pool toys to hide behind. So, maybe we have a scary vengeful God, just watching and waiting for us to disobey.

Luckily, that is not the situation. God’s watching is that of a caring parent. One who knows each and every one of us very well. He sees us wherever we are – but as a protective, loving God. One who is ready to listen to us, and to speak to us. Think of a shepherd who watches over the flock of sheep, keeping an eye on all of them since sheep are not the brightest animals around. Keeping them safe from danger and leading them to food and good water. Watching closely to protect them. Sometimes we may feel that God is not close to us. Jeremiah in verse 23:24 tells us that God is both near to us, and far away in that He is everywhere. This all powerful and all-knowing God actually has a personal relationship with all of His Creation. We can only thank Him for watching over us.

Merciful God, even when we feel that you are far away, help us to always remember your love and mercy. Help us feel the sound of you all around us in the wind in the trees, voices of others, and our own thoughts. Forgive us when our worries in this life overcome our reliance on you. May we always hear you with thankfulness when you call our names. Help us to do your will. In Jesus’ Name. Amen 

Chris Gabel