Open Arms [March 14, 2017]

Read: Psalm 139:17–24 | Bible in a Year: Deuteronomy 23–25; Mark 14:1–26
 
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalm 139:23
 
The day my husband, Dan, and I began our caregiving journey with our aging parents, we linked arms and felt as if we were plunging off a cliff. We didn’t know that in the process of caregiving the hardest task we would face would be to allow our hearts to be searched and molded and to allow God to use this special time to make us like Him in new ways.
 
On days when I felt I was plunging toward earth in an out-of-control free-fall, God showed me my agendas, my reservations, my fears, my pride, and my selfishness. He used my broken places to show me His love and forgiveness.
 
My pastor has said, “The best day is the day you see yourself for who you are—desperate without Christ. Then see yourself as He sees you—complete in Him.” This was the blessing of caregiving in my life. As I saw who God had created me to be, I turned and ran weeping into His arms. I cried out with the psalmist: “Search me, God, and know my heart” (Ps. 139:23).
 
This is my prayer for you—that as you see yourself in the midst of your own circumstances, you will turn and run into the open, loving, and forgiving arms of God.
 
Gracious Father, I recognize today my desperate need of Your love, wisdom, and grace. Search me and know me. Pour out Your grace and mercy in my life to bring healing to my heart.
 
When worry walks in, strength runs out. But strength returns when we run to God.
 
INSIGHT:  There is no place where David is outside God’s protective presence and care (139:7–12). Recognizing that it was a great privilege to know such a God, David prayed a prayer of commitment, seeking to live a blameless life (vv. 23-24). Even as he asks God to “search and test” him (v. 23), he was well-assured that God already knew him through and through, for he had declared at the start of this song, “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me” (v. 1). The Old Testament patriarch Job made a similar statement, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). Job’s world had been turned upside down, having lost his wealth, his family, and his health (1:14–2:7). In the midst of his trials he boldly asks, “Does [God] not see my ways and count my every step?” (31:4). Perhaps, like David and Job, you may be going through a rough patch. We can be encouraged that our God knows and cares. What is your response to the truth that God knows everything about you and His arms of love are always open?
 
– Shelly Beach

 

활짝 편 두 팔
 
하나님이여 나를 살피사 내 마음을 아시며 나를 시험하사 내 뜻을 아옵소서 – 시편 139:23
 
남편 댄과 내가 연로하신 부모님을 돌보기 시작한 날, 우리는 팔짱을 끼고는 마치 낭떠러지로 떨어지는 것 같은 기분을 느꼈습니다. 우리가 부모님을 돌볼 때 접하게 될 가장 힘든 일은, 하나님이 우리의 마음을 감찰하시고 새롭게 빚으셔서 이 특별한 시간에 우리로 새로운 방법으로 주님을 닮아가도록 하나님께 우리를 내어드려야 하는 것임을 그 당시 우리는 알지 못했습니다.
 
내가 공중에서 그대로 땅으로 떨어지는 느낌이 드는 날에는, 하나님이 나의 속마음과, 비밀들, 불안감, 자존심, 그리고 이기심들을 나에게 보여주셨습니다. 하나님은 나의 연약함을 통하여 그분의 사랑과 용서를 보여주셨습니다.
 
우리 담임목사님이 말했습니다. “최고의 날은 예수님 없이는 절망적일 수밖에 없는 자신의 모습을 보게 되는 날입니다. 그럴 때, 주님이 당신을 보듯 주님 안에서 완전해진 당신의 모습을 바라보십시오.” 이것은 내 삶에 있어서의 돌봄의 축복이었습니다. 하나님이 창조하신 나의 모습을 보며, 나는 돌아서서 눈물을 흘리며 주님 팔 안으로 달려가 시편기자와 같이 외쳤습니다. “하나님이여 나를 살피사 내 마음을 아옵소서”(시편 139:23).
 
당신이 처해 있는 상황 속에서 당신 자신의 모습을 보며, 팔을 벌려 사랑하시고 용서하시는 하나님의 품으로 달려갈 수 있기를 기도합니다.
 
은혜로우신 하나님 아버지, 오늘 하나님의 사랑과 지혜, 그리고 은혜가 절실히 필요함을 인정합니다. 나를 살펴 나를 아시고, 주님의 은혜와 자비를 내 삶에 부어 내 마음을 고쳐주소서.
 
걱정하면 강인함이 사라지나, 하나님께로 달려가면 다시 강인해진다.