Daily Devotional for Small Group Discussion: Murk and Luminescence

Discussion Questions

What would it take for you to believe that God loves who you REALLY are?

What do you think Matt Fitzgerald means when he says that for the rest of your life, you will always be faced with “the problem of yourself”?  How does God enter into living with that “problem”?

1 Samuel 16: 7-13

 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.”[a] But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 11 Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” 12 He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.


Murk and Luminescence

“Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

My children can be bad dinner guests. Masters of the kicked shin and flicked pea. I’ve perfected my sharp whisper. “Don’t show them what you’re really like.” 

What are you really like? Freud said the truth of a person is held in tension. One part of us is a murky stew of unacceptable urges and feelings. The other part is the system of subconscious strategies we use to hold the murk at bay. When the tension holds, we present the world and the mirror the best face possible. To make it happen we deny, repress and project the parts of ourselves we can’t accept. It’s exhausting.

But God sees straight into your heart. God sees the awful, cringeworthy parts. And She does not say, “What’s wrong with you?” Instead God says, “I know what you have been through. I know what forces bent you. And I see the luster through the murk.” There is brightness set before God like a plate of jewels each time your light fills His eyes.

Your problems are going to be your problems for the rest of your life. Not your debt or other passing vexations, but the problem of yourself.

You’re exposed. Why not reckon with your depth? Imagine the entirety of your complex self laid out before the One who made you so that Her love can save you.

You won’t become perfect. Or perfectly bland. You won’t lose your grit, your funk, your edge. The risen Christ had nail holes in his hands. After God loves you into wholeness you’ll still be yourself. Let it happen. God already sees you. Now let him save you. Then go out and show them who you really are.


Make me brave O Lord. Then make me whole.