Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)
Some years ago I recall waiting with the spouse of a patient in the operating room. It was part of my work to help the members of a church I pastored in such difficult times. When the surgeon came out after the operation he said that he got all of the cancer he could see. The family was joyful.
Sadly, I was not. The doctor did not say that he got it all, just that he got what he could see. What was even more difficult was that within a few months the patient was back for more surgery.
The doctor had wisely refrained from saying he had cured the patient or that he had removed all of the diseased tissue. He worded his comments carefully so as not to mislead the patient and the family.
Like the surgeon who knew that there might be disease there that he couldn’t “see”, we are aware that there are things we cannot “see” but which exist nevertheless.
We know we are not always aware of all that is going on around us, even in the people we rub shoulders with daily. Often people say, “I just didn’t see it coming.” Maybe the person was referring to discovering their child was dealing in drugs, or their spouse was involved in an affair, or their co-worker was stealing their ideas. In each case the people in question are people we see everyday, and yet we don’t always recognize what’s going on until it’s too late.
The Psalmist in our Scripture for today was asking his Creator to examine him and see if there was anything the Lord found displeasing in him. When it comes to actually seeing things, God’s eyesight is perfect, while ours is partial at best.
Clearly from the context the writer of the Psalm wishes to please the Lord but needs “eyes” far better than his own in order to see if any sin is present in his life of which he is not aware.
All of us need the searching eye of God to examine us constantly so that sin may be found in the very early stages. Sin can be present in our lives even when we do not see it, hence the need for the Christian to offer this prayer frequently.
Then, when sin is discovered, we should follow the example of the Psalmist and cry out to God to lead us in the way everlasting. Our first goal in life should be to please God in everything. Unfortunately many people believe that God is only out there to please them.
May you humbly place yourself under the searching eye of God this day and ask Him to reveal the results of His search to you, and then to lead you in the way that pleases Him. When He does lead you it will ultimately bring you into everlasting peace and joy.