“O Lord, you have searched me
and you know me...
... you are familiar with all my ways.”
~Psalm 139:1, 3b (NIV).
All alone with God, that’s our reality. It’s all that really matters when all’s said and done. When things are reduced to that, and that’s all, it gives us a different perspective on things doesn’t it? What we have before us is an eternal two-worlds transaction—here and now, on earth, with the Spirit of God—as we live and breath.
If we ever wanted a thorough analysis as to what the personal relationship with God can and should look like to begin with we’re stopped dead in our tracks—like deer in headlights—focused on the rare beauty of Psalm 139, as we arrive at it.
Principally positioned around this—the personal reflection—is the role of the Holy Spirit to search us whenever we’ve had indifferent affairs with other people and, hence, God.
God’s Searching and Personal Comfort
“Search me, O 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).
There have been times when God has searched me and I’ve resisted him; in this I found quite a lot of discomfort. When I resisted him my anxious thoughts combined with his searching—and my avoidance—had the effect of personal torment; result more unpleasant anxiety.
There are times too when we’re anxious about life and God’s using that anxiety for his (and our eventual) benefit—if we’ll allow our thoughts to be conformed to him i.e. to his way. His searching process is underway in this transaction.
I’ve learned there is a way of holding the tension of this gently chiding anxiety, mulling the thoughts through the mind, the feelings through the heart. It is not a bad place.
It is a necessary place at times, if we call ourselves Christians.
The best reality we can arrive at in terms of God’s searching of us is the truthful position of, “Search me, Lord, and where you show me to have offended, please facilitate through me, any reparation required—at any cost.”
Again, repentance is personal and no one need judge us, least of all ourselves. We must know God and his restorative blessing—that he blesses quickly and abundantly, without recourse to any further guilt or shame.
There is a fantastic relief in being this ruthlessly honest. Even the little things will cause us to reflect and we’ll make the smallest restitution we feel we can or should. And this is where God’s searching of us and our personal comfort can connect—and not beforehand.
And connection is finally present in the way of “everlasting”—the intent of the final line of the psalm. From offence to the way everlasting; God is the only One who can get us from this point ‘A’ to this point ‘B.’
Book-Ending the Psalm
I’m well aware that there’s so much more in this psalm than what I’ve focused on in the initial and final few verses.
There’s a theme, however, that I’ve sought to draw upon—that God is so intensely interested in us that he’s designed us to be enquired of; from him. We are ‘plugged into’ God like this whether we like it or not.
Indeed, he has purposed from the beginning the role of healthy anxiety—that which is intended to cause us to reflect and, where necessary, repent and make good of what we can.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.