It doesn’t take long after meeting my wife to figure out that she ain’t from around these here parts. The twang in her voice and her knack for giving everyone she meets two to three names are two tell tale signs that the south has a hold on her like nothing else.
It shouldn’t have surprised me, then, to hear Kathi’s explanation of Psalm 139:5. I’m so thankful because her simple word picture really opened up the beauty of that verse and has begun to calm my anxious spirit. With Kathi’s help, let me offer up a southern take on Psalm 139:5:
It’s a hot, humid day deep in the sticks of Mississippi. The chickens are loose and your mamma has told you that you “betta catch them things or I’m gonna get the belt after you”. Spitting out gnats and slapping mosquitoes away from your eyes, you run through knee-high weeds trying get that one last chicken that has a mind of its own.
After chasing that chicken after what seems like forever, you finally get him cornered next to the rusted out lawn mower that your daddy never put up from last fall. Barely able to see the chicken due to the sweat pouring across your eyes, you slowly reach out your hands and grab him from behind and front, slowly bringing him close to your chest.
You know the safest place for this chicken is the coop, even though that is the last place he wants to go. Once in the coop, the chicken goes crazy. He doesn’t like where you’ve placed him and begins letting you hear all about it. He tries to find every possible way to escape: jumping, pecking, making noises, running up against the wall, and more. It is only until you gently lay your hand across his back does he begin to calm down. Hemmed in from the front and the back, and now your hand laid upon him, peace finally comes to that chicken.
Even though we may not like the coop we’ve been put in, there’s an indescribable comfort in knowing where the boundaries are and who has built them. In addition, feeling God’s pressing hand laid upon us has a strange way of easing any anxiety we feel: He’s letting us know that He’s there, He’s placed us in this spot that we don’t like, but like the little girl and the chicken, He’s done this because He loves and cares for us.
God could have just hemmed us in from behind and front, but it is Grace and Mercy that He also lays His hand upon us. Not only does He protect us, he calms us at the same time.
What southern comfort food do you know that can offer that?
Psalm 139:5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.