When Being Searched is Good

“Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

During my experience working in the child welfare field, in particular my time with residential treatment programs, I saw many interesting things.  One program that I worked with was primarily for teens.  Many of the kids in the program thought that they had it all together and knew everything.  Working with kids that had this type of attitude brought its share of challenges and rewards. I really enjoyed the kids I worked with!  Many of them did very well in the program. For some of these kids, however, deception was the name of the game.  Whatever they could sneak in or sneak out of the home was a challenge to them. They were energized by the risk of getting caught.  Some kids were better at this skill than others.  When they were caught, staff were required to do a search.  Staff would search their person and belongings.  If you were to ask these kids whether they would volunteer to be searched, the answer would be, “No!”. Being searched reveals truth, and sometimes people desire for the truth to stay hidden. Revelation of the truth could bring exposure, negative consequences, shame, guilt, or pain.

However, David teaches us that being searched by the living God is good! I love what David says in this passage. Unlike our first parents, He doesn’t hide from God.  He asks God to search him. David began this psalm praising God for His omniscience, or perfect knowledge. He recognized God knew everything about him. God knew him intimately. God knew David’s sitting down and rising up (v.2). He knew David’s words before he spoke them (v.4). There was no where David could go and the Spirit wasn’t with him (v. 7). God knit David together in his mother’s womb (v. 13). Complete, intimate knowledge- from the beginning to the end. The same is true of God’s knowledge of us.

David asked to be searched. Note that this search wasn’t an external pat down, but an internal examination of the depths and all of the crevices of his heart. David knew he was a sinner.  He knew there was sin in his heart.  But he also knew, through faith, that God loved him and would convict him of any wickedness, lead him to repentance, and lead him in the way everlasting. Full exposure. Heart wide open. No creature and nothing is or can be hidden from God (Hebrews 4:13). David was comforted by and welcoming of the Lord’s gaze into his thoughts and heart!

Can you say the same? Are you as welcoming? Or, if you’re honest, are there closets in your heart that you would like to be “off limits” to God’s search? Are there things that are shameful or painful? I know it can be uncomfortable some times, but being searched by the righteous and holy God (who loves you) is good! Recognizing this, instead of resisting or running from it, is truly a work of the Holy Spirit. To beseech the Lord to not only search you, but to cleanse you from the grievous things He finds, is a mark of an obedient believer.  David wanted God to search him and help him get the crud out, that he would live a godly life. We should desire the same. The way of godliness is an everlasting way- the way that our Savior, Jesus Christ, knows well and ever so graciously teaches and leads us in!

Have courage and be encouraged today, Christian!  God is omniscient. Praise Him for that! There’s nothing hidden from His sight, including you and any sin in you. That’s a good thing! God knows you intimately and loves you with an everlasting love, in Christ. Don’t run from being searched by Him, but rather welcome it, as it’s a blessing.  It’s for His glory and your good, as He grows you in grace, and leads you in the way everlasting.