Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. – Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)
Have you ever stopped to think about WHY the Psalmist had to ask God to search his heart and thoughts; to point out anything that offends? I mean, they are his thoughts after all, so why would he – or any of us – need God search to our hearts and minds?
Let me explain it with an example…
Picture a tiger trap, like in the old “Tarzan” movies. You dig a pit, line it with spikes, and you’re all set, right? Not exactly! You have a hole filled with painful things, but you need to cover it! So, you grab sticks and leaves, whatever you can find, to cover the hole and make it unrecognizable! It LOOKS the same as everything else around it, but it’s not!
Now, how many of you would volunteer to run down the path and over the trap? Not many, right? When the covering gives way, what’s underneath is going to hurt…very, very badly…
But what does this have to do with the verses in Psalms? A lot of us have pain in our past; trauma or critical events that have ripped painful holes in our lives. When this happens, we have two choices:
First, we can confront our pain, we deal with it, we turn it over to God, we seek counseling, we grieve, we forgive, and, when it’s all over, we’re able to move on. In fact, the people I know who have done this are stronger than they were before! And while we never want to go through painful situations, we learn more about who we are – and, more importantly, who God is – then if we never hurt!
The second option is what we just talked about. We know there’s a pit, but instead of trying to fill it in, we try to cover it over. We grab sticks labeled “Success”, “Popularity”, “Sports”, “Wealth”, “Religion”, “Acts of Service”, and more and place them over the hole.
Now I’m not saying that these people aren’t actually Christians, aren’t talented athletes, or aren’t concerned about serving others. What I AM saying is that these people take their God-given gifts and, instead of working out of the strength that comes from a healthy life and a growing relationship with Christ, they use them to try to cover over the pain in their past, to convince others – and themselves – that they are good enough, smart enough, or worthy of being loved.
Sometimes we can focus so much on the covering, that we forget there’s a pit underneath. We forget, that is, until we accidentally trip into it, tearing back the cover we created and revealing the suffering inside. And when we do that, most of us try to escape, to run away. New marriage, new career, new friends, new…anything that we hope can rebuild the cover.
Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of a pit is to do the work to fill it in; not cover it and think you can ignore it! Today, why not pray like the Psalmist and ask God to search your life, to point out the areas where you’re holding on to pain in your past, and to help lead you on the path of “everlasting life”.
From all of us at The Trek, we hope you enjoy your journey!
Barry Rudesill is a Pastor, speaker, and co-creator of The Trek. (www.thetrek.org)