Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 139. (MsgB)
A David Psalm.
God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to You; even from a distance, You know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of Your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and You’re there, then up ahead and You’re there, too—Your reassuring presence, coming and going.This is too much, too wonderful— I can’t take it all in!
Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for Yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—then guide me on the road to eternal life.
Every once in a while, it’s good to stop all the machinery of life. Turn off all the buzzing bustle, shut down all the clickity-clack of constant chatter, and just sit there in the quiet.
Just you and God. No hype. No TV. No music. No church choirs and noisy preachers. No ifs, buts and ands.
Here I am, God…reporting for my regular inspection.
In the world of spiritual disciplines, this intentional quieting of one’s self before God is called examen. That’s a word taken from Latin and it simply means examination. Folks who practice examen on a regular basis, generally are those who have learned from life that there are no perfect people in this world…only people who prefer to hide from the truth and those who have the guts to face it.
Without a doubt, King David must have been one of those guys who had no problem being gut-honest about himself in front of God. Anybody who has the nerve to sit in front of the Almighty and say, “Ok, God, have at it…investigate me to Your heart’s content” must have been pretty secure in his ability to be examined.
So it should be with all of God’s children.
But sadly, most of us who call ourselves Christians have yet to break through the lies that this world offers us. Sinfulness, you see, is not a game-breaker in God’s economy. In truth, there is no one living on the planet today who can honestly say that they are without sin. God knows this, and isn’t it too bad that so many of us are so afraid of being honest with our lives before God because we somehow believe that if Jesus would find out how sinful we are, He’d reject us flat out?
What a crock!
In truth, the Lord already knows all about our sin and selfishness. Like King David states here in Psalm 139, our Heavenly Father already knows everything there is to know about us! And here’s the really good news! God is so kind and merciful; He’s already decided to keep loving us despite how wretched our lives might be from our perspective!
Thus, the idea of examen, or inviting God to step into the doctor’s office and take a good, healthy look at our sickness and sadness is, quite honestly, one of the healthiest things we can actually do in taking care of ourselves. God, you see, isn’t nearly as pissed off at us as so many of us might imagine.
As I see it, God is more like a loving physician who’s seen so much human crap over a lifetime in the medical profession, seeing one more unhealthy man or woman doesn’t shake Him up at all. As a matter of fact, if I can stop my self-centeredness and shame, allowing God to finally examine the real Marty Boller, the sooner He and I can get on the path to healing and wholeness.
So how about if you and I stop the fun and games? Let’s stop imagining to ourselves that our sicknesses and sinfulness are just too much for God to handle. All the while you and I try to hold our little band-aids over the gaping wounds in our souls! Let’s choose to be more like King David, who apparently had no problem disrobing before his Maker, and saying, “OK, Doc…tell me the truth. I can take it!” Just imagine how much faster the Good Doctor could help us get back on the road to recovery if we’d stop with the silliness and shame?
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to hop up on the table and say, “Go ahead, God…I know this might hurt a bit, but let’s get started so You and I can get back on the road to eternal life.”
My prayer: I confess, Father, that it’s easier for me to imagine that my sin and shame are too ugly for You to handle than it is for me to just get gut-honest and ask for Your help. Whether it’s my pride or my shame that keeps me from allowing You to investigate my life, I choose today to allow You full access. Good, bad, or ugly, God, I ask You to come in and take a good hard look. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So which is it that keeps me an arm’s distance from God when it comes to allowing Him full access into my life? Am I ashamed? Am I too proud? Am I afraid that He’ll find things that are too repulsive to Him? Or am I just too arrogant to allow Him access to my soul? What needs to change inside me so I can become more like King David and his attitude found in Psalm 139?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Contemplative Activist network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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