Our son was ten when my husband had his first and only sabbatical. We bought a VW Hippie Van and, on the last day of August, 2002, set out on a two-month road trip through America’s National Parks.
We ventured out across the north and returned via a southern route, so it was October by the time we reached Missouri. After being in barren canyon lands, I cried under the shelter and shade of Missouri’s trees. We learned about Louis & Clark’s expeditions and took a trip up and over the Gateway Arch. But strangely enough, the part of Missouri that comes back to me this morning are the license plates.
They all said Missouri: Show-Me State.
(To this day, I don’t know why.)
Regardless, these license plates are calling my name and I feel a strong pull to make another road trip, this time an inward journey, no Hippie-Van required.
I can’t read a map if my life depended on it, so I’m grateful to the Psalmist David for laying out a path to the (inner) Show-Me State:
“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)
To show is to allow to be seen. That’s what it means. To cause, allow, or permit to be seen.
David’s route to the “show-me” state is that of giving God an invitation and / or permission to search him. And not only to search him, but to show him. That’s a whole other thing, friend. David’s saying, let it be seen if there’s any offensive way in me. Show-me!
Other translations use words such as these:”See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on … ” (hello!!)
“See if there is any hurtful way in me … “
“God, I invite Your searching …”
David is entering a show-me state.
- Search me.
- See me.
- Show me.
Right there is our map, friend, our very own Route 66.
Show me, because on my own there is so much to which I am blind and I really truly don’t want to cause others or myself unnecessary pain.
David lived blind for awhile (we all do, by the way). This man-king took paths of pain that involved a misuse of both power and position. Took a woman, another man’s wife, a life.
A prophet by the name of Nathan arrived at David’s door to take him to a “Show-Me” State (2 Samuel 12). Sometimes we don’t drive ourselves there if you know what I mean!
Friend, like David, it would do us good to take a little trip. An inward journey. There are prophets among us right now that would take us there. Can you hear them knocking at your door?
They would show us paths of pain we’ve been traveling for far too many years. Will we listen? Will we look? Will we learn? Will we go another way?!?
“I have gone to a lot of trouble to get your attention, and you’ve ignored me. I sent prophet after prophet to you (again & again), to tell you from early morning to late at night to change what you are doing, alter your behavior, and do what is right … And what do I get from you? Deaf ears. You have not paid attention.
You did not bother to listen to Me …
You kill the prophets whom God gives you; you stone those God sends you …
And now you’re so desolate.”
Jeremiah 35:15; Matthew 23:37
And so I ask once more: Will we listen? Will we look? Will we learn? Will we go another way?!? It matters, friend. A refusal leaves us desolate.
Show-Me: Our Little Life Words of the Week.
- What ways in you are leading to places of pain for yourself and / or others?
- If a ‘prophet’ has been knocking on your door, let them in and listen.
- Give permission to one trusted person to speak into your life. Ask if they see any path of pain you’re taking and bravely invite them to show it to you.
- The practice of Examen leads to a “Show-Me” State. My friend Jennifer sells a great little postcard guiding us through. Check it out here along with other helpful resources.
- Our song of the week is: Tell Me The Truth by Steffany Gretzinger
- Ask God to show you any path of pain on which you’re walking, AND the alternative path of life (Psalm 139:24 & Psalm 16:11).
Friend, if we dare (and I hope we do) let’s bravely invite God and others (and even ourselves?) to ‘Show me where it hurts …’
Let’s be willing to see the paths of pain we may unknowingly be on, so we can turn and take the high road home.
Happy Trails to You.