The Psalmist Steve Earle

The biggest election of my lifetime is one week away. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been replaced on the supreme court by someone who stands against much of what RBG stood up for. People’s concern for the safety and well-being of their neighbor is at an all-time low. Parts of our country are literally on fire and others are in danger of being flooded…again.

It’s enough to make anyone lean harder on the doubting than in the believing.

But fear not.

Psalm 139 reminds us that no matter where we go or what is happening around us or how we are feeling, God is there. We simply cannot get rid of God–even when we try.

You have searched me, Lord,
    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 are familiar with all my ways.
 Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
 You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.
 Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

The Psalms were actually songs and intended to be sung. So it’s no surprise that today’s song writers often serve as modern-day Psalmists. Steve Earle (perhaps unbeknownst to him) brings us a new take on Psalm 139.


I've spent my life following things I cannot see
But just when I catch up to them, they slip away from me
Now I've been down a thousand trails I've never walked before
And I found out that without fail, they lead me to your door

And the world keeps turning round and round
It leaves me hanging in the air
My heart keeps turning upside down
You're still standin' there

Now lately I see all the signs, I feel it in the wind
And the same thing happens every time that you come back again
Now I'll admit that there are nights when I sit up and cry
But sometimes I turn out the lights and pray you'll pass me by

And the world keeps turning round and round
It leaves me hanging in the air
My heart keeps turning upside down
And you're still standin' there

Now since you've gone my empty arms have nothing left to hold
And your memory cannot keep me warm but it never leaves me cold

And the world keeps turning round and round
It keeps me hanging in the air
My heart keeps turning upside down
You're still standin' there

No matter what life brings

No matter what we do or say or think

No matter who the president is

No matter who serves on the supreme court

Whether we feel it or not

God is always standin’ there.


Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow us on Facebook and get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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