When he has tried me

Job 23--10

The Verse of the Day for March 2, 2016 is found in Job 23:10-11 (AMP):

“But He knows the way that I take [and He pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I will come forth as [refined] gold [pure and luminous]. “My feet have carefully followed His steps; I have kept His ways and not turned aside.

As I reflected upon this passage, my thoughts turned to Psalm 139, all of which can be can be viewed as an invitation to deepest, divine inspection. The Psalmist opens with recognition that God knows all about us. He has made, formed and created us. Indeed, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” The celebrated psalm closes with a heartfelt request:

Psalm 139:23-24 (AMP)

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Psalm 139 also brings to mind a previous blog entry “Try me: Search me again” which I have modified and re-post today, as another dose of good medicine from the shelves of Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe.

The original blog entry made reference to a life-changing teaching from Dr. David Jeremiah, who taught on the refining fire of God more than ten years ago. I discuss the message in this excerpt from a journal entry made following the teaching:

It is one of the most moving tapes I have heard, as he relates how God puts us through the process of refining in order to extract the precious metal from within us. In the same way that a refiner breaks the stones and sends them through the fire over and over again, so God sends us through the fires of life in order to extract and purify the gold within our souls. God removes our need to feel secure, to be in control, and to survive by putting in situations that try us, “fiery temptations” that prove who we really are. God controls the entire process, determining the timing, the temperature, the target, and the terms of the fire. Our tendency is respond with a series of questions as to “why?”: “why me?”, “why now?”, and “why not someone else?” Like children, we continually ask why when God, as a good parent, is not obligated to explain that which children cannot understand at the time they ask “why.” The only questions we should be asking are “What are you trying to teach me?” and “What are you trying to change in me?”

In reflecting upon the passage from Psalm 139, my mind is flooded with an understanding of what is transpiring in my life at this particular time. God is doing precisely what I asked Him to do in two poems from a collection of seven works that intertwine through their opening lines: “All Tests” and “To Graduate with Honors,” both of which express my deepest desire:

All Tests

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and
Challenges come at you from all sides.” [The Message]
James 1:2

With zeal I make my calling and election sure,
As I attempt to complete yet another test.
Ever the eager student, I will do my best.
You promised good to me, your Word my hope secure.
Search me and know me—discern that my motives are pure.
My soul now anchored in hope; in you I find rest.
You are my light, even when times seem their darkest.
As a patient father who seeks to reassure
His son, so the Master Teacher shows His design:
All tests are formed not to punish but to refine.
Despite shortcomings and failures that I have made,
You are gracious and generous each time you grade.
With each assignment, I seek to excel, not just pass,
To graduate with honors, the first in my class.

 

Esther Mui offers a moving musical rendition of Psalm 139: 23-24, Christian Scripture Praise Worship Song: “Lead Me in the Way Everlasting”:

Another poem that could be described as “the second verse of the same song” begins where the previous poem ends:

To Graduate with Honors

I desire to be a straight-A student in the University of Life
Lonnell E. Johnson

To graduate with honors, the first in my class;
Once more “to pioneer a new and living way.”
To rise above the mundane, striving to surpass
Past limits, still moving toward a more perfect day.
In reflecting on bygone years, I recall
These words: “The Lord is my light and my salvation,
Whom shall I fear?” words implanted to strengthen me,
Learned by heart, this prophetic declaration.
Though my thoughts may stray, your presence is always near.
Hand-in-hand, while walking toward my destination,
With my ears still near your lips, ever listening to hear
Words of life that endear, words of exhortation.
I ponder the winding path that my life has turned,
With deepest gratitude for all that I have learned.

Hillsong offers a moving rendition of “Search Me O God,” an appropriate musical accompaniment to close today’s blog entry:

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