Friday, October 25, 2013

He Sees All

George Orwell's infamous line "Big Brother Is Watching You" is feeling uncomfortably real these days to millions of citizens in supposed democracies. Edward Snowden became the name on everyone's lips after he told the public that the U. S. National Security Agency makes a habit of watching its people's phone-call and Internet-use records; since he fled the country to escape espionage charges, rumors about smartphone tappings and routine surveillance continue to multiply. No doubt many such rumors are urban legends and conspiracy theories, but the government freely admits to keeping a wide eye on who calls whom and accesses what--measures it defends as essential to protecting the country against terrorist attacks.

Whatever your personal opinion there, most people are more than a little uncomfortable with the idea of anyone listening to what they say, keeping records on what they read, knowing where they go when, or--if it were humanly possible--overhearing their thoughts. We all do, say, and think things we're afraid others would use against us, even things we're ashamed of even as we enjoy them. What others don't know won't hurt them or us, and we'd prefer to keep it that way.

Of course, the secret behaviors of human lives were never really as secret as we like to think. Someone is watching all of us--more constantly and thoroughly than any earthly government ever could, down to our deepest thoughts. "The LORD looks at the heart," says 1 Samuel 16:7. "From his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth," adds Psalm 33:14. Most people, even many Christians, are uncomfortable enough with these facts that we routinely ignore or deny them. We appreciate the idea of God watching out for our interests and always being ready to listen to us, but the thought that He knows everything we do and may also have an interest in changing our plans for ourselves is another matter entirely.

The irony is that we think we are avoiding unpleasant things God would inflict on us, when in fact we are rejecting His desire to give us far better things than we could obtain on our own. David had a much better attitude--he didn't fight the fact of God's all-seeing eye, he embraced it. "O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down ... You hem me in--behind and before ... Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" (Psalm 139:1-3, 5, 7). But this is a blessing and not a curse: "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me ... I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ... How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!" (Psalm 139:6, 14, 17).

How precious it should be to all of us, knowing that the all-powerful God has us constantly on His mind. He is not watching us because He's afraid we'll get out of His control. He has His eye on us so He can constantly give us the help and support we need.

God watches from Heaven, the place of His throne,
He looks on Earth's people to make them His own.
He sees all that happens, He knows all we do:
Friend, are you embracing His knowledge of you?

God looks at the heart of each mortal that lives;
He chastens and comforts, He prompts and forgives.
He sees all we're thinking, He knows all we know:
Friend, will you allow Him within you to grow?

God searches and knows us, He hems us around;
Wherever we turn, there His presence is found.
Some seek to escape Him, some yield to His way;
Friend, will you surrender and claim Him today?

God's heart is as kind as His knowledge is vast;
He gives us a future, redeeming the past.
He holds awesome blessings He yearns to impart.
Friend, taste, and rejoice in His all-knowing heart!

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