I’ve been praying the Psalm, “Search me God and know my heart” often over the past few months. It’s not a comfortable prayer.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.“
Psalm 139:23 NRSV
What will God find if I truly mean what I say?
Perhaps God will find some divisions and inconsistencies, some good intentions and some misplaced priorities. Perhaps God will see my best moments when I’m motivated and structured, aware of others, as well as the times when I get overwhelmed, lose my structure, and give in to sloth and distractions.
How will God respond to what’s in my heart?
What happens next when all is laid out in plain sight before God?
It’s nothing new to think long term about one day our lives being exposed before God for what we truly are, but that’s easy to pass off as a future concern. That is something to be sorted out later.
But if I truly want God to search my heart today, even in this moment, I have to brace myself for radical honesty and transparency. I have to face whether I have lived up to my expectations or hopes, let alone those of my community.
This is a moment of surrender that tests whether I believe that God is good, loving, and trustworthy. What kind of God do I imagine when I ask God to search my heart?
Do I believe that God is a physician who has come to heal those sickened by their choices and illusions?
Do I believe that this God has grace and mercy… even for me?
One of the beautiful aspects of praying the Psalms is that they prompt us to say things we may not be bold or hopeful enough to pray for ourselves. They pull us out of our failures, doubts, and shame, giving us words for a moment of need.