It was one of those songs that did not catch my attention right away. However, as the week progressed, I found myself not only humming the tune but looking up the words. Not only was the first stanza deep in its message, but it was also like a recurring theme in my head: “Oh Lord, You’ve searched me / You know my way / Even when I fail You / I know You love me.” Powerful stuff!
It is one thing to search ourselves. We know there are places in our lives where we will conveniently not look. Places where we have stashed our “forbidden things” that we believe nobody but ourselves know about. Yet, it is another thing to have God do the searching. He leaves no stones unturned, no doors unopened, and nothing is hidden from His eyes. I am reminded of the words of the psalmist David, “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me” (Psalm 139:1, KJV). Bible scholars tell us that the word rendered ‘searched’ has a primary reference to searching the earth by boring or digging, as for water or metals. It involves a thorough investigation. This kind of thoroughness is required because, as Jeremiah reminds us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). In effect, David was saying, as Bible commentator Adam Clarke puts it, “Thou hast investigated me; thou hast thoroughly acquainted thyself with my whole soul and conduct.” Jesus spoke about what was in the heart (Mark 7:18-23). It is easy to deceive ourselves; to believe we are “OK” when we are not. Only God can do an honest search of the human heart.
Yet, if the words of the songwriter are to be believed, even after searching the recesses of the heart and seeing all it contains, we can still say of God with confidence, “I know you love me.” There is nothing to lose and everything to gain to invite such an investigative search. It cannot be a one-time thing either. It is no wonder David ended the Psalm with the earnest request: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (vv. 23-24, KJV). In other words, like a prosecutor interrogating a witness or a defendant, keep on investigating my heart and my thoughts. Why? “Because Thou seest all that is in my heart. Nothing is, or can be, concealed from thee” (Barnes Notes). I do not have to be afraid of this level of transparency because regardless of what you find, even when I fail you, “I know you love me.”
A clean hand and pure heart are what God desires (Psalm 24:3-4). Only He can search and cleanse the heart. Today is a good time to echo the words of the Psalmist and invite Him to do so; to really make it personal. Trust me; He will not be turned off by what He sees. “Oh Lord, You’ve searched me / You know my way / Even when I fail You / I know You love me.