December 19, 2015

Search Me, O God

Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24

“Go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father . . . who sees what is done in secret, [and] will reward you.”

—  Matthew 6:6

The news recently reported on fears that a popular book and toy is grooming children to live in a surveillance state. The book tells the story of scout elves who watch and tell Santa what they have seen. It comes with a toy that can be put in different places in the house in the days before Christmas. Critics worry that we are getting used to being watched.

We might wonder what the fuss is about. The concept is just an extension of an idea that has long been used to encourage good behavior before Christmas: “He’s making a list and checking it twice” (in the song “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”). On the other hand, the world has changed. There is less privacy today than in past generations. We know we are being watched, and we worry about how the information gathered about us will be used. It can make us uneasy.

We might get a similar uneasy feeling reading the Bible. In Psalm 139 the writer concludes that there is no place to escape God’s searching eye. While that could leave us feeling exposed, it’s actually a reason for praise and comfort. The One who is watching us is the very God who made us and cares for us. When we invite God to search us, we trust that he will lead us “in the way everlasting.”

All knowing God, you sees what is done in secret, and you know what we need before we ask. Help us to trust in your goodness, that we may open our hearts to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Norman Visser

Norman Visser has served as a pastor of churches in Ontario, Nova Scotia, and South Dakota. He states that while he is “not known for waiting patiently,” he is “working on it.” Norman and his wife, Marcia, have three children.

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