When God begins to shine his light on some issue in my life, be it internal or some issue taking place around me, I often have a hunch where things might be leading. You know what I mean—I see Christians do this all the time. We get a glimpse of what God might be up to, and we start speculating and filling in the blanks, bringing all our biases and inclinations to it instead of simply listening to him for more. For example, you sense God prompting you to help your parents financially, and you’re already inclined to do that, so you just go and do it without stopping to ask, Now? How much? Or, you sense God’s conviction on a long-standing sin in your life. Being inclined to self-contempt and beating yourself up, you just jump to, I knew it. It’s my fault. I’m the idiot, and you start making all your plans and resolutions to change (despite the fact that it never works). If you’d stayed with God on the matter, you might have heard his love and tenderness and his gentle counsel for a different way of handling it.
Filling in the blanks. That’s what this is. We are constantly filling in the blanks of what we think God is up to instead of asking him. It isn’t helpful. It’s taking the ball and running with it, leaving God behind. Ask the next question, remember?
For the past couple mornings when I’ve sat down at the table to have a quick bowl of oatmeal, I’ve opened my Bible to read a bit, and both times it just opened to Psalm 41. Here is what I read: “I said, ‘O Lord, have mercy on me; / heal me, for I have sinned against you’” (41:4).
Do you hear David’s approach to God? He doesn’t expect to get slammed. He doesn’t just promise to repent and do better. He knows he has turned from God, and he knows what he needs is healing. So this is what I prayed: I ask you to heal the things in me that have led to this self-obsession, this looking to my ability to get it done, get it right, stay on top of things. Forgive me. I want to be centered in your love in me. You in me. Heal me.