No matter how many times I travel on an airplane, the privilege of getting a birds eye view, or should I say a "God's eye view", of the earth never ceases to take my breath away.
I flew to Peoria, Illinois, this past weekend to speak at a wonderful Winter Conference. My seating preference when I am flying is always a window seat for two reasons: 1) if I want to sleep, I can lean my head against the window instead of risking it bobbing around like a fishing lure in the ocean, and 2) I love to soak in God's view of the world from the skies.
On Sunday, my flight home from Peoria was connecting through Chicago, and upon our descent to the airport, I could see the layering of snow from the snowstorm that had swept through that area on Friday. Although this unexpected snowstorm caused me great travel angst and stress on Friday, causing flight delays and detours which resulted in my arriving at the event fifteen minutes before I was supposed to be on stage, this light blanket of snow now seemed peaceful and beautiful.
As I peered out the window at the snow covered ground, my eyes fell upon the sheets of ice that covered the bodies of water. But as we slowly glided over them, I noticed something unique - I could see straight through the lake water, getting a glimpse of the huge rocks and canyons that hid deep beneath the surface. It was a sight that would never be seen by the human eye when standing on the shores of the lakes.
As I tried to focus on the murky objects tucked under the freezing water, I thought about how God has this amazing view of the earth every day. How He is able to see straight through to the ocean and lake floors and get a glimpse of even the tiniest of tiny fish. How He can see straight through the ground into the innermost portion of the planet. And then I pondered the thought, of how He can see straight through us as well.
He sees the caverns of our heart, the hurts buried within, the insecurities embedded into our subconscious spirits, and the unspoken fears in our minds. He sees through the tough facades that we put on every day as we mask our feelings from others and bury our concerns so deep that they will never be seen by the human eye. He sees all the things we try to hide from others, and maybe even from Him.
He sees our true hearts, and knows our real motives, for all that we think and do. God sees straight through our exterior surfaces, viewing deep into our interior lives.
Here are a few verses that portray that truth:
Jeremiah 17:10 "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve."
1 Samuel 16:17b "... God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
Revelation 2:23 ".......I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds."
When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we often feel convicted by the Holy Spirit when our actions go against what would please God. I should know - I keep the Holy Spirit pretty busy in the daily conviction category.
Yet, we may not be as quick to feel that conviction when it comes to our thoughts - but whether we feel convicted or not, God sees straight through us. He knows what we are thinking.. all.. the.. time. I am the first to confess that all too often, I would love to hide my thoughts from God.
For you see, He knows how much truth we have in our hearts, and how much hypocrisy we hide. He knows how much compassion we really have, and how we secretly begrudge others. He knows how much grace we give, and when we are merely pretending not to judge.
He knows how content we are with what we have, and our level of inner discontentment. He knows when we forgive with our lips, and then secretly harbor unforgiveness and anger. He knows when we smile at our 'neighbor', but curse them under our breath. He knows when we congratulate someone for an accomplishment, and then feel envious because we did not receive that same blessing.
We might be able to fool other people, making them think we have it all together or that we are all "spiritual" all the time. We might even be able to fool ourselves for a while. But God can never be fooled. Scripture teaches us that God not only knows our hearts, He "searches" them, constantly exposing us for who we really are.
In John 4:29, the Samaritan woman ran back to her village and told everyone, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?”
This woman at the well did not know exactly who Christ was at the time, and could not understand how He knew so much about her - but we do know. The mere thought of anyone, much less our Sovereign God, knowing everything about our past, present and future, including our most private thoughts, can cause even the strongest Christian to shudder in shame and fear.
Oh what a friend we have in Jesus though. A friend who does not condemn, but understands, and is quick to forgive upon the asking. A friend who does not keep record of our wrongs, but renews our mercies every day. A friend who offers forgiveness and grace. A friend who sees straight through us, but loves us just the same.
Knowing that He sees through us does not need to provoke shame, but rather should fill us with an ambitious desire to take a long hard look at our thoughts and actions, or our patterns of thoughts and actions, and determine if they are pleasing to Him.
If we were to wake up every morning remembering that God sees every action and hears every thought, do you think we would go about our days with a different perspective? Would we be as prone to sin, inwardly or outwardly, if we truly lived in an acute awareness that God sees straight through?
One of the most challenging things God calls us to do is admit our need for more of Him, and lay down any patterns of thought, behavior or sin that might be a barrier to living fully in Him. I am certainly up for the challenge today... what about you?
Let's take a moment to meditate on Psalm 139, asking God to bury the truths found in these verses into the deepest caverns of our souls, so that when He searches our hearts and sees straight through, He sees more of Him, than us.
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.