I read this at the beginning of last week and I meditated on it as I never have before. Here, David is asking God to go over him, prove who he is and try his obedience and dedication, just as we need to ask God to do. The fulfilling of this verse results in some difficult times for us...for me.
Examinations are anything but fun. Who really skips off to the doctor's office for their exam? They poke, probe and ask embarrassing questions. Often, procedures hurt and are not at all pretty. But, the doctor must go beneath the surface, to the ugly parts, to determine if we are healthy or not.
At the end of the examination, we are told what is good and what is not. The doctor prescribes treatments and suggests how we can keep the healthy parts healthy.
Lawyers prove cases. No one ever looks comfortable in a court room. It is a tense atmosphere as the hard questions are asked and evidence is held before the judge as the prosecution and defense try to prove the the guilt or innocence of the defendant. Where was he on the day of the crime? What did he do? Where are his fingerprints found? What was going through his head? The judge will decide the consequences dependent upon the jury's decision.
When a rider tries the reins of a horse, he must begin slowly, but at one point he must push the horse hard. Will the horse obey if they rider pulls the reins to either side to turn or if he pulls on them in order to slow or stop? If the horse will obey at slow paces, the driver can push him faster. How hard does the rider have to pull to stop the horse? Does the animal obey at the slightest touch or does the driver have to use more force? Often, the horse is tired and sweaty at the end of a work-out.
Back at the doctor's office...in order to really decide if a heart is working properly or having difficulties, the doctor will put a patient on a treadmill. The patient will need to walk/run for a time, putting stress on his heart. The doctor determines if the heart is strong or about to quit based on how it responds to the stress test.
The Lord will exam, prove, and try us. He will probe and seek way beneath the surface to the ugly places we hide from all others. What will He find? Am I spiritually healthy? What will He prescribe for the areas in which I am infected with sin? How can I maintain or improve where I am thriving?
He will ask us difficult questions and search for evidence as to our service to Him. Will He find enough evidence that I truly love Him or will it all point to loyalty to self and this world?
Hardest of all, He will push us further than we have been to see if we will obey. Our hearts will be put under stress, sometimes to the point of completely breaking. The word "try" is the root word for "trial." To have my obedience and dedication to God tried, I will go through and have gone through trials. Even as recently as in the last week, my heart has been put under a tremendous amount of stress. Deep cuts that were healed and scarred over began to re-open. But, because of God's proving Himself to me time and time again, I know I can trust Him. It's been hard, but I cling to Him. He's my strength and is still the Healer of my wounds.
The older we get in the Lord, the more thorough the examination, the more evidence we store, and the further God can push us. In the difficult times, I can be thankful that God loves me enough to exam, prove and try me; that He wants to be sure I am healthy, working, and thriving in Him. And, the best part of all, is that He never forsakes me throughout the process. How do I know? Because of the very next verse:
For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes...
As I am being challenged to the core and feel the stress on my heart and being, I look up and see God's love and His kindness. He is there. He loves me. And, because of this, I believe my examination will show that I am pretty healthy and the evidence will prove that my heart desires to serve the Lord. I may need some work on my obedience, but the Lord will continue to patiently tug at my reins. And, even under stress, my heart beats strong with dedication and trust in my God.