Exploring Hope: Search me, O God

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”  (Psalms 139:23-24 ESV)

We all want to be understood on some level. But sometimes we’re afraid of being truly known. What if we’re vulnerable and people still reject us? So, we choose isolation and anonymity because it feels safer.

But ironically, COVID-19 has fueled this human tendency to retreat from community. And while we take wise steps to mitigate the spread of one disease, we may open ourselves up to an equally pernicious ailment—loneliness and social isolation.

But Psalm 139 teaches that we’re never truly alone. Even if we’re stuck at home by ourselves, God is with us. And this Psalm models what it looks like to be vulnerable before God. Rather than sewing fig leaves together to cover our shame (like Adam and Eve in Genesis 3), we desire to be open books before him.

Of course, as God, he necessarily knows everything; he knows what’s in our hearts before we ask him to search them. But Psalm 139 shows that we should still ask. And lest he leaves us in our sin and shame, we boldly say, “See if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” In other words, we pray, “God, dig deep into my heart. Expose my sin. Expose my pride. Expose my selfishness. But don’t leave me there. Please let me flee to Christ for mercy. Come into my heart through your Holy Spirit, like a master gardener, to weed out whatever you see that is grievous in your sight. Lead me in your path because I want the deepest recesses of my heart to glorify and enjoy you forever!”

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About Will Stern

Originally from Colorado, Will Stern is the pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church in Garnet Valley. He majored in violin performance for his undergrad and taught violin for a number of years before being called into ministry. He studied theology at Duke University and Westminster Theological Seminary.

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