God searches the hearts and minds of everyone. That thought can bring a certain fear to our lives, especially if we have been living carelessly with excuses we know will not stand the test. But, the same thought — God searches the hearts and minds of everyone — can also bring comfort.
We sometimes hide who we really are from others. We put our best foot forward in public as the saying goes. This best self may be like buildings on a movie set — an impressive façade that hides what is really there. But there is a yearning that competes with our attempts to mask ourselves. The desire is for a friend who really knows me — a friend who knows, understands, and helps. Some of the passages that depict God’s intimate knowledge of us, indicate that God can be that sort of friend.
… whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart and stretching out his hands toward this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind)… (1 Kings 8:38–39, ESV)
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalms 139:23–24, ESV)
And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:27, ESV)
I realize that there is a tension. Abraham is called “friend of God” (James 2:23), and God is called “the Fear of Isaac” (Genesis 31:42). Yet, God’s intimate knowledge of my heart and mind does not necessarily lead to terror. In the Christian life, where forgiveness is available, and growth in Christian maturity is ongoing, God’s knowledge of me can be a comfort. God is the friend who really knows me.