At the Illustrated Faith Event, Lisa Nichols Hickman encouraged us to read Psalm 139:15-16:
You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old.
and then write down our three best days, our two worst days, and something about today. We had time to share at our table. I was surprised to hear someone at my table tell me that her best and worst days were both at the same time in her life, but for different reasons. Sometimes we find the most unbelievable blessings in the midst of the most unimaginably bad days. A young lady shared with the whole group that Psalm 139:16 Bible came to mind for her on the day her toddler died, maybe as a reminder that God would be with her even through the tragedy of this life.
When I think back over my life, I can remember so many more wonderful days than bad days. Surely one of the best, most crazy, fun, romantic days of my life was one that I spent in Paris with my boyfriend (now husband!) while we were in college. Paris is a wonderful place for romance and love! And it feels like one of the saddest days to learn that a city with so much beauty could be besieged by ugly violence.
Psalm 139 has always been one of my favorite of the Psalms. Until today the verse “Oh that you would slay the wicked” has always felt like an interruption to a deeply personal prayer. Today those words took on new meaning. On the way to the Illustrated Faith event, I listened to three hours of Craig Barnes lectures on the Ten Commandments given to me by parents for the car ride. With regard to the third commandment, he said, to commit violence in the name of God is taking the Lord’s name in vain. His words were ringing in my ear as I read:
Oh men of blood depart from me! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain.
God, I pray that this violence will come to an end. I pray for peace. I ask that you will be with the Parisians in this time of grieving and fear, and I pray for something beautiful to come of this simply because I only know Paris as a place where beauty is created. I pray that your love will surround and comfort all those who mourn and that you will bring healing to all those in need. Especially, be with the doctors and nurses and first responders. Pour out your blessings on the city at this most difficult time. Amen.