Who knows the first line of Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’?
“I wandered lonely as a cloud.” (Even if you didn’t know that, if you mention Wordsworth or daffodils in a group of people, someone will say it.)
Who knows the second line?
Not so many people.*
This makes sense, of course. Some lines are memorable and we can’t know everything. I was reminded of this today when reading Psalm 139. There are some pretty famous bits in that one, and without conducting any research I’d have thought the most famous bit is this:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. (v13-14)
I for one am glad these verses are in our Bible. So clear for those who think the unborn child has no value. So helpful for those desperate to measure up to a false standard of ‘perfection’ that they see on their phones every day.
Do you know the next bit? I actually do because we put it in our Order of Service 17 years ago when we got married. But today I was struck by the verse after that: the verse after the bit that I know really well:
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them! v15-17
This verse (17) jumped out at me today. In light of the fact that God made me, cell by cell, and knows the end from the beginning, my heart should praise God for his thoughts and his wisdom – his unfathomable wisdom, which I can never, never ever get my head around.
It reminded me of another passage in Isaiah 55:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” v8-9
In other words, I could say to myself: Hey you, God’s wisdom is infinitely greater than yours. You think you know what should be happening right now. But you don’t. So here’s what to do:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Maybe this is what you need to remember today, too. Maybe you’ve been asking, seeking, knocking and not seeing the answers you’d hoped for. Maybe you’re sick or your to-do list has been interrupted. Maybe your dishwasher is broken and it’s a luxury you’ve come to rely on. Maybe you missed an appointment. Maybe something you’d been hoping and praying for looked really promising and then fell through. Maybe you feel you’re the one who’s let everyone down.
Just between you and me, that’s what my week’s been like. So I’m really grateful today that the Lord has answered my cries for help with a reminder that he is the one with the wisdom. I’m the one who needs to trust him. I’ve been getting that the wrong way round.
More from me tomorrow. I know! Nothing for months and then a windfall.
*I’m pretty sure it’s ‘That floats on high o’er vales and hills.’ But I did study English at university so I don’t really count.