Examine me, God! Look at my heart! Put me to the test! Know my anxious thoughts! Look to see if there is any idolatrous way in me, then lead me on the eternal path!
(Common English Bible)
Ah. The end of school is here. I have school-aged children, and they are always happy for the last week of classes...except for one thing: exams. Of all the times in school, I think preparing for final exams was always the hardest time of the semester for me. Sometimes, the final exams would cover everything we had learned for the entire semester, or even school year. Most of the time, we had no clue what would be on the final exam, and it's really hard to study every little thing from an entire school year. So, I would study until I drifted off to sleep, get a good night's rest, have a filling and nutritious breakfast, and then say a prayer that God would remind me of all that I had studied while I took the test.
I had a friend who would pray with her son each time he had an exam at school, asking God to bring to his remembrance all that he had studied. One day, as his mom started to pray with him, he looked at her and said, "Don't bother to pray today, Mom. I didn't study."
The Psalmist reminds us that we all have exams. In fact, we should have an exam. Now, this isn't a written exam, but a self-examination of sorts. The Psalmist reminds us that God is God, that God knows everything, even our faults and failures, and that God is there in the good and bad to walk with us. The Psalmist also reminds us, however, that we have a responsibility as well. Just as we had to study for those exams in school, we have to come to God fully open to seeing both the good and the bad things about ourselves. Only then can we truly and honestly ask God to examine our hearts and to know our thoughts. Only then can we be willing to be led by God on the eternal path.
Have you asked God to examine your life lately?
Rev. Jan McCoy is the associate pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org