Psalm 139: (New International Version)
1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
The cursor on my laptop screen pulses silently, as if it is a living thing that waits; patient--but as insistent as a tapping toe, for the touch of my fingers on the keyboard.
Sometimes the wrestlings and complexities of a heart are hard to express and words are not easy to birth.
God is at work in my heart. Again. It started a week or so ago; the kneading and shaping; the challenging and prodding.
He knows me inside out; sees what I hide from others and even from myself. He peels off the pretty packaging and searches beneath. Yes,Lord, you have searched me and you know me.
This vein of thought started, I think, when I began to read Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl. I paused at the preface and read how he intended to publish the book; a treatise on survival under the most horrific of circumstances--in Nazi concentration camps--anonymously.
Dr. Frankl writes:
And so it is both strange and remarkable to me that--among some dozens of books I have authored--precisely this one, which I had intended to be published anonymously so that it could never build up any reputation on the part of the author, did become a success. Again and again I therefore admonish my students both in Europe and America:"Don't aim at success--the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one's dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds true for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it...in the long run...success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.
"Success cannot be pursued; it must ensue." A monumental point to ponder.
Concurrently, I was reading a profound little book, The Greatest Thing in the World, by Henry Drummond, for the second or third time since October. The greatest thing in all the world is Love according to Henry Drummond. The apostle Paul wrote about that in the first book of Corinthians and the 13th chapter. The reason I read the book more than once was that I wanted to absorb his thoughts on love as a quality; a spiritual grace. Love is an expression of God's character and is his very essence. We could spend a lifetime learning to love well and not be finished.
I saw a connection with what Dr. Frankl wrote, in Henry Drummond's exposition on love expressed as unselfishness in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-5
In his analysis of this aspect of love, he writes:
The more difficult thing still is not seek things for ourselves at all...not to seek them, to look every man not on his own things, but on the things of others--that is the difficulty. "Seekest thou great things for thyself?" said the prophet; "seek them not."
Even self-denial in itself is nothing, is almost a mistake. Only a great purpose or a mightier love can justify the waste.
And so I have been contemplating. What motivates me? The answer falls short dear friends.
I am motivated by: the notice of people; by the hits on a blog; by an honourable mention here or there. Pride crouches at the door of this heart, I confess. I care too much for things that can be a snare.
So I lay my heart open to him and to you because that is a good thing.
I love how this passage about John the Baptist is written in Eugene Peterson's The Message:
John 3:30 (The Message)
29-30"That's why my cup is running over. This is the assigned moment for him (Jesus) to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines.
Where the rubber meets the road, Lord, help ME slip, .
Psalm 139:23-24 (New International Version)
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.