Read Psalm 139.
In the classic movie Groundhog Day, Phil Connors entertains the idea that he may be a god. “Not the God—a god,” he clarifies. Bill Murray’s character is trapped in the small town of Punxsutawny, Pennsylvania, forced to relive February 2 over and over again, and the experience has taken its toll.
Having watched the same day play out hundreds of times, Phil’s gotten to know the whole town, and he seems to know everything about everyone—their histories, their desires, their comings and goings. He knows the precise moment when a certain waiter will drop a tray of dishes, when a local boy will fall out of a tree, and even when the wind will blow. At one point, he opines, “Maybe God isn’t omnipotent. Maybe He’s just been around so long, He knows everything.”
Long before Phil Connors was dreamed up in Hollywood, David reflected on God’s all-knowing nature: “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar” (vv. 1–2).
For David, God’s omnipotence is an unsettling comfort. It’s unsettling because it’s all-encompassing. There’s nothing that can be kept secret from the Lord, not even private thoughts. Add to that the truth that God is also omnipresent, and there’s nowhere to hide either: “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you there” (v. 8). It’d be enough to drive the strongest among us mad—except that this awesome power is wielded by the only one who can be trusted with it.
Somewhere along the way, you may have picked up the idea that God is like a grumpy stepparent, always on the verge of losing His temper if He finds out you did something wrong. The only proper response to such an image is to lay low, to sneak in the back, and to hide your screwups. But the true God revealed in the Bible isn’t like that. He knows you inside and out. There’s no need to skulk or tiptoe or avoid making eye contact. Whatever you’ve done, He already knows, and He knows so much more besides. In fact, He knows you better than you know yourself. And He still loves you.
There is comfort in knowing that the eyes watching over us all the time belong to the source of joy and mercy. His intentions are for our good. His hands are there to guide us. Everything we were, are, and ever will be is laid bare before our Creator. “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (v. 16).
There’s no denying that to be exposed is to be vulnerable. David isn’t a perfect man, but he has given his heart to the Lord, and so he embraces the vulnerability. Instead of hiding his sin, he invites God to reveal it and remove it: “See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (v. 24).
With God, we can lean into intimacy without fear. When we’re ready to come clean—and be made clean—we can entrust ourselves to Him fully. With David, we can pray, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts” (v. 23).
To be loved is to be known. Everything else is just pretending.