Airport security always makes me nervous. I want everybody else to go through it; I just don’t like being in the thick of it. A rule follower to the core, I always do my best to adhere to all restrictions and signage. Still my knees are practically knocking as I go through each zone. I look very guilty of something.
Years ago, we had just finished a glorious week of Vacation Bible School in Bielsk Podlaski, Poland and were heading home. From Warsaw, we flew to Paris for a day of sightseeing. After 24 hours, a quick tour and enjoying the Eiffel Tower at midnight, we dashed off to the airport for a long trip back to Kentucky. At the time, American and French relations were not optimum. Employees at the airport seemed to be in a bad mood-at least when we were around. Still giddy about VBS and the tour of Paris, we lined up to go through security.
After scanning my backpack, a thin man spoke sternly to me through tight lips, “Ma’am, you have scissors in your bag.” I immediately began to explain, “Oh, no, sir. I put them in my checked baggage!” (I was the preschool teacher in VBS and had safely stored all the scissors in my suitcase.)
My not-friend in security repeated his statement a little sharper, “Ma’am you have scissors in your bag!” I dug through my backpack to find absolutely nothing resembling scissors.
A third time, he informed me that I had scissors in my bag and would not be permitted to go on to my plane unless they were surrendered. He held out his hand ready to receive them.
“I CAN’T FIND ANYTHING!” I exclaimed, trying not to cry.
The angry Frenchman helped me unload everything from my backpack. After searching again and shaking it, we found that a pair of children’s scissors, which were barely sharp enough to cut paper, had gotten stuck between layers in my backpack. For the love! He smirked and then deposited the ‘weapon’ in a Plexiglas container for all to see. Everyone behind me was THRILLED that I was finally through security.
Because of that scary airport situation, I’m extremely cautious about what I do and do not carry through an airport. Things I have hidden can affect everyone around me.
David also knew about hidden things. In Psalm 139:23-24, he prayed for God to do a full examination to reveal anything detrimental in his life. “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.” Shew! Tough words to pray! Do I have the courage to pray them? Do you?
“Search me.” What is deep down that needs to be brought into the light? Grudges that are being nursed, hurt feelings, jealousy, etc. that fester under my public smile. Search me, God, better than a French security employee.
“Test me and know my anxious thoughts.” What keeps me up at night, or distracted during the day? What is my greatest fear? What future or possible scary circumstance is secretly stealing my joy?
“See if there is an offensive way in me.” Do I have habits in my life that are un-Christlike? Pride, seeking the approval of others, laziness, etc.
“Lead me.” This is a wonderful and scary part of the prayer. If I fully surrender to His leading, where would that take me? Not necessarily to Africa or China, but it could be just as important. He might lead me to help in the nursery, children’s church, or VBS.
While some prayers take years to be answered, God will answer this one with ninja quickness. And, let’s be honest, that’s what we want. Right? We won’t be perfect this side of heaven, but don’t we want to be as much like Jesus as we possibly can?
Craig Groeschel wrote in Dangerous Prayers, “Don’t pray it if you don’t mean it. Be forewarned, this prayer has the potential to convict you. To correct you. To redirect your life.”