“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
Our pastor is currently speaking a series of messages titled “4 Things I Wish You Knew About God.” Last weekend’s message was titled, “God is Not Mad At You.” My initial thought was,”This will be a nice message for someone. I don’t think God is mad at me.” Yet, I was once again amazed by the Holy Spirit’s ability to make it all real and apply to me in a way that He was able to speak to my heart about things that need to be dealt with in me. I realize I have lived my own life believing as long as God didn’t know or I didn’t look at what was there, He wouldn’t be mad. Friends, that’s called deception.
As I examined my life and measured myself beside the message my pastor preached this weekend, I remembered an experience I had with my oldest child when she was almost 4-years-old. I was tucking her in her bed and having our night-time, prayer-time as we did every night. Knowing her as I do, I was able to see in her eyes and discern in my heart that something was wrong. She did not quickly or easily reveal the secret she had been hiding for several days. I talked to her about the importance of confession and forgiveness. After I prayed for her, she climbed down from the top bunk, walked across her bedroom and got on her knees to dig in the back corner of her closet under dress-up clothes and toys. She stood and turned to me with her tiny hands holding the broken pieces of her most precious Christmas ornament. I embraced her.
Our daughter had hidden the ornament she broke because she was afraid mommy would be mad at her. She was able to go about her daily life for several days knowing I was not mad at her because I did not know that she had continued to play with and ultimately broke the special ornament after I told her to leave it hanging on the tree. She carried the weight of her sorrow; she carried the burden of knowing she could not fix her treasured ornament. She feared I would be mad at her, so SHE HID WHAT WAS BROKEN…she hid her sorrow…she hid her burden…she hid her sin.
I talked to her about her sin and forgave her. We prayed together and I led her in asking God for forgiveness. She did have a consequence for her disobedience, but she was confident of my love and favor toward her when she peacefully laid her head on her pillow that night…a heart restored. I did not hide the ornament in shame as a mother or throw it away in hopelessness. I glued the porcelain ornament back together, and we hung it on our Christmas tree. Each year since then we have continued to hang it on our Christmas tree. For all of us, it is a subtle reminder of God’s love manifested through forgiveness and redemption. Because of the truth the restored ornament reveals, it is more beautiful now with all the cracks than it was before it was broken.
After listening to my pastor’s message this weekend, I realized I am my daughter. I have hidden broken things in my heart that are the root of my sorrows and burdens…things I know I cannot fix so I have stuffed them away thinking that if I can’t see them I can forget them. Yet, the heart does not so easily forget. God is more concerned with the health and wholeness of our souls than we could ever imagine. Christ died to set me free from the death and hopelessness my sins perpetuate. If I keep him locked out of the chambers of my heart where the hurts and sorrows are hidden, I perpetuate my own bondage. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. I have decided to take a journey through my heart, to the deep places, the back hallways where the most remote chambers are locked and void of His light. He and I are on this journey together. As His light floods each chamber and my faulty thinking and attitudes are exposed, His love infuses my heart with hope.
David wrote of such a journey and realization in Psalm 139 when he said, “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.” As David wrote in verses 23 and 24, I daily pray: “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.” God is faithful to walk with us and reveal what needs to be unlocked and shattered. He is loving. He is kind. He is able to heal all wounds. He is able to restore. He is able to redeem. He is a fierce warrior armed and ready to fight for us.
What are you hiding? God is big enough to handle anything He might see in your heart. He is loving enough to forgive and redeem. Whether you have clung to words spoken over you or a mistake you made, His arms are strong enough to hold you together. If what you are hiding is bitterness for the way your life has turned out, He wants to set you free and show you the hope of His calling for your life. If you are hiding something you fear will change everything, God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. Sometimes we hide/stuff things inside because we are afraid we can’t hold ourselves together. I can feel the comfort in David’s words written in Psalm 139:5 where he said to the Lord, “You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.” Being “out of control” in the hands of God is the safest place we can be. I pray for you today to find peace in your heart. Friends, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health; may you prosper in your spirit, soul and body (3 John 1:2). He sees it all. Let Him show you His view from His elevated perspective. It will set you free.