You Have Searched Me

Editors’ note: This meditation is based on a song by the same name from the new Citizens & Saints album, Join the Triumph. The song is available as a free download, and you can watch the video below. To play along, download the cord chart for free.  


Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? (Rom, 2:4)

It was a bright sunny day in Seattle, and the light was shining through the windows of our living room as my kids sat on the floor with my wife and their aunt coloring pictures. At some point during this time I noticed that my 4-year-old was no longer in the room with us. I assumed she had gone off to get something and would soon come running back into the room, but she didn’t. 

Then 5, 10, 15 minutes went by, and at this point I decided it was time to go see what she was doing. I went around to the different rooms quietly calling for her as to not wake up our napping 1-year-old; there was no response. As I set out searching for her in another part of the house I heard a creaky door open. 

I turned back around to see our daughter standing, looking up at me with her hands over her mouth. If you have kids you may already have a couple different scenarios playing through your mind as to where this gesture could be heading. I immediately asked her what she was doing, and she hurriedly encouraged me to look under the small pillow on her brother’s bed. As I reached down to grab the pillow I could see her getting nervous. Her hands, for whatever reason, elevated again back toward her mouth.

The Sin

What I found was my iPhone, temporarily disabled; not a big deal. But my daughter hiding out in a room by herself and then when called out of hiding, putting the instrument used for mischief under the pillow? Big deal. The big deal had nothing to do with what she had done, but why she wanted to hide and keep what she had done in secret. In that moment, hiding out in darkness was the greater lure than walking in the light and being known. The big deal was that she lied. 

We began to talk more in depth about her actions, and as the real problem was revealed, she began to sob. I asked her if she wanted to talk to God about it, and she said no. As I assured her that God loved her and that his grace covers every sin, I could tell that she was still apprehensive to pray about it. I didn’t want to pressure her toward speaking a confession that wasn’t true in her heart, so I told her I would take the punishment for her. 

The Substitute

At this point she was sitting in a chair. I asked her to stand up, and then I took her place in the chair. In years past I had done something similar with my older daughter, and it unexpectedly resulted in my daughter giving me the biggest hug and leading to one of the sweetest conversations about how much greater Jesus was to pay the penalty not just for one sin but all past, present, and future sin. We prayed together as she confessed and repented of this particular sin. I’ll never forget that moment.

It was different this time with my 4-year-old; she just looked at me for a couple of seconds. When I told her she could go upstairs, that’s exactly what she did. No conversation, no hug, no brokenness. She just ran off. I’ll never forget that either.

The Searcher

More often than not, we respond to God’s kindness much like my 4-year-old daughter did. The Holy Spirit reminds us that our sin has been covered by the blood of Jesus, yet rather than turning to God and excitedly saying, “Thank you,” we just ignore the gift and run back to what we were doing. We presume on the riches of his grace, ignoring the gentle call to walk freely in the light of Jesus.

Romans 2:4 tells us, “God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance.” God knows everything about us. He knows exactly how many breaths we will breathe. He knew when we took that first breath that our hearts would turn from him, yet he still chose to create us and shower us with his common grace.

Think of all those years he sat patiently with you, softly calling you into the light and you resisting, only for the eyes of your heart to finally one day be enlightened to see God in all his glory and grace. You repented of sin and ran to him! God searches our hearts, and he still wants us. God saves us, and as we turn back to our former sinful pattern, he still wants us.

God is calling us to walk in the light and be known by him. Until Christ returns and as long as we reside on this earth in these bodies of flesh we will continue to sin. So rather than hiding from God we can daily pray the life-giving words of Psalm 139:23-24 and experience the steadfast love of God that stirs our hearts with greater affection for him.

We pray: “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

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