There are tons of crime shows on TV these days, each with some "souped up" form of forensics lab, cops with super-human deduction powers, and even those who read your mind in order to solve the crimes. When you visit the local police station, you see a different picture - one not so glamorous and intriguing as that portrayed on those shot in Miami, Vegas, or LA. What you observe is the true "investigative" tasks of the police detectives - crunching data they have in the case, bouncing ideas off each other, and painstakingly following up on leads. You see the systematic approach they take to solving the crimes before them. This is what investigative work is all about anyway - the systematic inquiry or study which brings the details into clear focus. One of the purposes of this investigative work is to uncover what seems to be hidden so well that someone would not discover the truth. This is what the criminal is hoping for, isn't it? They want the hidden to stay that way. We aren't so dissimilar to the criminals, are we? We oftentimes want the hidden to stay hidden - hoping God's investigative work into our lives will somehow miss the tell-tale signs of that sin or short-coming! Well, if that were possible on his part, we probably would be pretty disappointed in him!
Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; see for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—then guide me on the road to eternal life. (Psalm 139:23-24 MSG)
Although the discovery of truth which has been buried under the surface of our tough shell would be somewhat of our "undoing", we often feel so much better when we are finally "undone". What is buried just putrefies in the course of time, so bringing it to the surface where it can finally be revealed is often the most "relieving" experience we can have. If you don't believe me, ask someone who has had a boil or a particularly large pimple on their body. That thing just aggravates them, causing them pain and irritation, but until it comes to a head and finally is ready to be "uncovered", it is just a pain they have to deal with. Once the head is formed, it takes a little doing, but squeeze hard enough and often enough and the core of the thing will be exposed. What comes out is not too pleasant! If you have ever seen a boil drained you might just not want to eat lunch afterward! You would never imagine so much "diseased" part was just under the surface of that angry looking bump.
Sin has a way of festering in our lives, under the surface and sometimes in places we think are cleverly concealed. Let me be the first to tell you - no place is outside of the investigative jurisdiction of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Try as we might to conceal it, he knows our hiding places! Why? It is simply because he put all our parts together in the first place, so trying to hide anything from him is silliness! Sin has a core which goes deeper than what we see on the surface - oftentimes hidden in "gaps" we aren't even cognizant exist. These "gaps" are areas we needed to have guarded, but which were left unattended and as easy "settling ground" for the sin to find a place to fester. They might be "gaps" like not dealing with our lust before it gets out of hand, or allowing ourselves to just do something "in moderation" without recognizing where moderation crosses the line into excess. These gaps become excellent "breeding grounds" for the disease of sin to take root and set in a huge core of "festering mess".
One of the most merciful things God can do in our lives is to examine us. We may think this to be a little bit like asking someone to take sandpaper to our skin when we have a sunburn, but it isn't. God has a way of investigating the hidden areas of our lives in such a manner as to "sort out" the details in a systematic manner so the pathway for the "messiness" of our sin has a clear shot of being revealed and removed. When the boil comes to a head, a pathway has been cleared for it to begin to be drained. Surgeons sometimes "rush" this process by taking a knife to the wound and opening it before the head is fully formed. They want "at" the diseased part quicker - often causing much more pain and leaving the patient a little more "at risk" because of the larger area of exposed tissue. God has a way of making a "pathway" for our sin to be removed from our lives - sometimes he just lets us fester a little in our "covered up" state so we will be ready to be rid of the messiness of our sin once he makes this pathway known.
We may think God has a lot on his plate when we think about the hidden stuff in our lives. After all, we all have "hidden stuff" which eventually needs to come to the surface in order to be removed. The good news is that the one who formed us also can transform us exactly where we need his transformation! Just sayin!