Search Me O God
Thursday, October 1, 2009

“Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Ps. 139:23-24)

                Sometimes churches encounter things in their lives which are dark, foreboding, and oppressive beyond description.  Things crumble beneath them and no matter how hard they try to cope with the daily bombardments, the quagmire only gets deeper.  I encountered such a situation many years ago.  Things were happening in the church which were painful and inconsistent with God’s work in the Body.  There were old wounds being dragged out and reopened; normally healthy Christians were acting as if the devil had moved in; and there was a spiritual darkness which invaded the entire congregation.

                I called the Elders together for an evening of prayer.  The feelings were mixed.  Some believed I was overreacting.  Others thought I was over-spiritualizing the events.  Still others were confused, but there were a couple that were feeling what I was feeling.  So to the chagrin of some and to the compliance of others, we began to pray that night that God would search our hearts and point out any offensive things within us.  At the end of our prayer meeting, I asked the Associate Pastor to close us in prayer and ask God specifically to reveal the reason for the spiritual darkness that had invaded our Body.  And he prayed as powerful and wonderful prayer as was prayed that evening.

                The next day, about noon, God answered our prayers.  It was revealed to me that this same Associate Pastor had sexually abused (and had been for a period of time) members of our youth group.  What ensued was shock, dismay, denial, heartache, broken lives, and prison for the Associate Pastor.  This was followed by a couple of years of counseling, loss of members, restoration, and renewal.  Then came a time of joy and unprecedented growth in the church.  As painful as this story is for me to re-cap, it tells a vital lesson.  There are times when spiritual darkness invades  churches.  And this darkness is generally caused by a sin or sins (or outright evil) which had heretofore been unexposed.  And God will allow that to go on in the darkness of the soul for a season.  He will let it prevail until the foreboding heaviness of sin begins to weigh heavily upon the godly people.  But at some point, someone has to pray – “Search me O God and know my heart. . .”

                The bad news is that after such a prayer, God will expose the sin and when He does, there will be compromised pastors exposed, or the dark life of an elder brought into the light, or a prominent member of the congregation might be shown for who they really are.  But whatever the sin, when God answers the prayer, it will be exposed.  That is the bad news.  But there is good and wonderful news.  God wants us to pray that prayer so we can begin the healing process.  There will follow the exposure of sin a time of counseling, healing, and restoration.  And if the church remains faithful in prayer, there may indeed be a time of unprecedented growth.  This growth will push against the evil constraints of God’s enemy.  Be aware, Satan will not just lay down and die.  O he may flee for a season, but he will always be looking for an appropriate window of opportunity to return. 

                I painfully recall the events of this letter, so that if your churches are feel that foreboding spiritual darkness you can learn from our experience.  It could be God is wanting a sin in your churches exposed that have been nourished  and languishing in the darkness.  The exposing is painful, the cure is not instantaneous, and there is always a time of shock and disbelief.  But unless the evil is a cancer, and if not exposed and removed, it will kill the patient.   My admonition to church leaders is to begin praying this prayer, so that the healing power of God can begin Its work.  Then He can lead us all on the “pathway that leads us to everlasting life.”

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455

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