Diagnosis and Treatment
During a routine checkup, the doctor detected a heart murmur in one of my daughters. I tried to alleviate her fears by telling her that I have one too, and they are rarely a cause for worry. I also told her she might need an echocardiogram, which would display an image of her heart on a screen, with different colors representing the different parts and functions. Though I assured her this test was totally painless, she asked if the doctor could put her to sleep during the procedure so she didn’t have to see her heart. “I’m afraid it might be black,” she explained, “because of the sin that’s in there.”
That comment took me aback. It led me to wonder how many of us, when given the choice, would allow ourselves to be shown that blackness?
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! Ps.139:23-24 ESV
David’s prayer is one of the most succinct, effective prayer models for transformation in our lives. It’s a brave prayer–one of those “be careful what you ask for” prayers, because it is one the Father is sure to answer. It takes guts to earnestly seek it, and it takes guts to actually face the answers we receive.
The point of getting a diagnosis in the first place is to explain the symptoms we’re experiencing. And let’s face it, the symptoms of sin in our lives are pervasive, whether it’s due to our own sin or that of others. We suffer and the people around us suffer, too. But unless we are willing to look–really look–at that blackness head-on, it is impossible to access the cure for it.
Unlike any other physician, the Father will tailor the delivery of our diagnosis in a way that will uniquely speak to us. He knows the private languages of our hearts, what will move us and motivate us to seek out His treatment. And His treatments are kind, good, and effective...if we allow them.
Not too long ago, I had one of those head-on encounters with my own sinfulness. It was not a pleasant experience by any means, but I did commit to the Lord to go through the entire treatment process, which involved much grieving and sorrow. What I received in the end, however, was priceless:
- Freedom. Through facing and acknowledging my sin, the Lord was able to completely remove it, and I actually felt different. Not just immediately afterwards, but permanently.
- Value. Because I acknowledged my sin and sinful nature, I restored my right-standing before God. I knew my place and His, and my value to Him in the light of Jesus.
- Humility and Confidence. I have always struggled to properly balance these two attributes, but the key to it can be found through submitting to the process and getting to the other side.
Are you willing let the Father show you your own heart? Ask Him and He will answer, and surely He will hold your hand all the way through the process.