While I have many favorite scriptures, perhaps my ultimate favorite is Psalm 139

Submitted by Rev. Dr. Don Longbottom, Conference Minister

Don Longbottom, wearing a UCC medallion

“Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”

It is in the nature of our human experience to have times filled with joy, success and a sense of fulfillment. Here I write about the good times. It is also in the nature of our human experience to forget the place of the Spirit when all is going so well. Fortunately, we are beloved by a God who loves us without condition. Even when we are oblivious to being loved, God conditions to pursue us to ends of the earth.

Then…there are those other times. We’ve all had them, or at least will one day. I write here of the times when we make our bed in hell. There is no need for me to detail any examples but simply to recognize the times in life that are so devastating as to turn the sweet taste of life to ashes in one’s mouth.

The Psalmist, in this case, seems surrounded by enemies and somehow his life has become exceedingly difficult. He wishes for God to smite his enemies but that is far from the deeper point. The Psalmist realizes that even if he is making his bed in “hell” he has nevertheless not been abandoned. The Spirit is there with him in every circumstance.

Let us all remember in any and all circumstances that we are never alone and we are never abandoned. The Spirit of the Lord is always near.

Peace and joy, Dr. Don


  1. Reply
    David Pantermuehl says:

    Thanks for the reminder Don. One of my favorite psalms as well. When sharing these verses, I like to read parts of Margaret Wise Brown’s book, Runaway Bunny (one of my favorite books) to the children during worship. Blessings, David Pantermuehl

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