If someone comes to our house with a search warrant, we may feel guarded. Can we trust this person to be fair? What if they’ve fabricated evidence? Certainly we don’t trust the person to be kind.
Think of how much the psalmist must trust God to invite God to search his heart! With whom would we be willing to have our deepest motives revealed, to be tested to see if any bit of sharp or cutting thought existed? The psalmist must trust that God does not try to catch us doing something wrong or seek to “teach us a lesson.” He must feel completely safe with God.
Many of us don’t feel safe with God, especially if we’ve experienced a lot of darkness. But God is a creator of light, and God works behind the scenes to help us shed darkness.
A friend once told me that God had put him out on a ledge and made him dangle there in panic. My other friend turned to him and said, “Don’t think anything bad about God” as if God would punish him for saying or even thinking such a thing about God. God is good and God is love—patient and kind, firm in truth but doing what is best for us. As we settle into that realization, we can trust God enough to invite God to examine us and learn what’s really going on below the surface.
Best of all, the search ends with God guiding us in the way forward—“the way everlasting”—from darkness to light. If something is found to be wrong or if nothing is found to be wrong, there’s a next step toward moving into union with God.
Prayer Suggestion: Invite God to search you and know you, to sift your motives and thoughts. If that’s too scary, ask God to help you trust God enough to be willing to allow God to search your heart in the future.
As God promised land and descendants to Abraham, in the reading from Genesis God confirms these same promises to Abraham’s grandson Jacob. The psalmist meditates on and takes comfort in the fact that God knows everything and is everywhere. He asks God to search his heart and reveal if there are sins away from which he needs to turn. The Romans passage continues Paul’s reflection on the life in the Spirit. Because we are children of God, we cry out with confidence that God will hear and answer. Jesus tells a parable in Matthew concerning the final judgment. He says that the wicked will be taken first, then the righteous will be gathered together.
Read Genesis 28:10-19a. When has God quietly been at work in your life? How do these experiences help you recognize God’s presence with you in ordinary days?
Read Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24. God already knows us completely. What is holding you back from inviting God to search your heart?
Read Romans 8:12-25. Consider the ways you already resemble God. In what ways to you need or wish to be transformed to resemble God more fully?
Read Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. Reflect on a time when you were frustrated by God’s inaction in the face of injustice. In hindsight, how was God at work?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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