I have an honest and open question. Have you ever wondered if God genuinely understands you? Does our heavenly Father truly know the depths of who you are, your very being?
Here’s the comforting – but also, convicting – reality. The simple yet profound answer is ‘yes’ – God sees all of a person’s heart. The Lord absolutely knows you and me, individually and fully.
Let’s have a more nuanced exploration of this, looking at how it impacts our wider lives and faith journeys.
God sees your heart – and the hearts of each and every person!
Unlike us, God isn’t limited by our five human senses. While we are often influenced by our vision, hearing, touch, smell, and taste, God – who is the Creator of all things – operates on an entirely different level.
Our Lord sees the core, the very essence, of our beings. He knows the deepest secrets of the heart (Psalm 44:21). God intimately searches and knows each one of us, inside out – even more than we know ourselves (Psalm 139:1-4). He is acutely attuned to our every thought, feeling, and plan (1 Chronicles 28:9) for “the eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).
Many Bible verses consistently highlight God’s omnipresence (e.g. Jeremiah 23:24) and omniscience (e.g. Hebrews 4:13). I think they all serve to reinforce one absolute reality. His awareness isn’t just vast or expansive; it is absolute!
And that includes His intricate understanding of each human heart, the things people like you and me sometimes choose to keep ‘on the inside’, away from others. But God sees it all. Nothing can hide from the Spirit of the Lord.
What’s the deeper meaning of 1 Samuel 16:7?
1 Samuel 16:7 is a key Bible passage that offers further insight on God seeing our hearts. It reads:
I think the wider context of this verse helps to give more depth.
Prophet Samuel was on a mission to anoint the next king of Israel. Based on his human perception alone, David’s older brothers seemed like fitting candidates based on their social status and outwardly impressive physical stature.
However, God had a different metric.
In short, David, who was then a young shepherd, wasn’t the most obvious choice for Samuel based on his age or physical appearance. However, God looked past all that. He saw David’s heart and deemed it in alignment with His divine purpose.
I believe God’s choice of a new king points us to a broader and vital lesson. The Lord’s gaze is rooted in His infinite wisdom which far transcends our own perceptions and understanding (Proverb 3 5-6).
As humans, we tend to judge a person based on his or her appearance, demeanor, accolades, habits, speech, status, and so on. We can try our best – but will ultimately reach a limit in what we are able to fully know about others. Yes, even with loved ones, whom we may know very well but never absolutely.
However, by contrast, God knows the whole heart of each person He created. He sees the inner essence of our true character. The Lord knows the real worth of every individual beyond anyone else’s judgement.
How does God seeing our hearts affect our faith journeys?
I think the most comforting takeaway from all these Bible verses is this. God really knows us, and He is always with us amid everything we go through. He understands our every emotion, memory, and thought. He knows our anxieties, dreams, worries, and joys, and cares deeply about every detail of our inner self.
This includes the harder moments – our life’s valleys. Psalm 56:8 poignantly captures this sentiment. “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle.”
This biblical understanding means that God is never just a passive, apathetic observer. He is not the uninterested, uninvolved ‘god’ of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Instead, our Lord is always active in our lives, and shows compassion to our experiences (e.g. Isaiah 30:18; Psalms 103:13). He is invested in our well-being, keeping track of our every struggle and triumph.
Surrender your heart to God who knows and cares for you
Building upon this, I think that all of us, at some point or another, will inevitably feel that no one truly sees us for who we are. Life is hard and we may, for example, go through periods of feeling alone or uncared for. Friends, family, or colleagues might unintentionally overlook our struggles or misunderstand our intentions. Society, with its fleeting trends and ever-shifting standards, can sometimes leave us feeling unfairly judged or unsure of our worth in the world.
Yet, in the midst of it all, we as Christians must never forget: God’s faithful heart is always for our hearts (Psalm 34:18; Matthew 6:34). Like with King David, He sees the tears we shed in private and hears the silent cries of our broken spirit. Above all, the Lord also knows our true worth (Matthew 10:31), even when others – and oftentimes, we ourselves – don’t realize our inherent value or feel we don’t ‘hit the mark’.
So, when we fully embrace the fact that God sees our hearts, we can begin to walk in the beautiful realization that we are never truly alone, in both the good and bad times. And, even better, He doesn’t just leave us to shrivel up alone. Instead, in Christ’s name, our Lord invites us to turn to Him for anything and everything that weighs on us, if we so choose. He will help us in His perfect timing.
So let us surrender our hearts to God, in all that we do, the little and the big things. For we can trust that He already knows whatever is going on inside us. And He will give us His holy peace that transcends anything the world can offer (John 14:27).
But, by the same measure, we should also respond to the Holy Spirit’s conviction of our hearts
Yet, with the truth that God sees our hearts, we must understand He is also fully aware of all our hidden intentions without exception. This includes the not-so-pretty parts of our inner worlds.
I think it’s humbling to know that our deepest thoughts, even those we try to hide from others, are known to Him (Hebrews 4:13). Everyone, believers and non-believers alike, can have ”skeletons’ that don’t align with God’s standards (Romans 3:23), such as harboring feelings of greed, pride, holding grudges against someone, and so on.
Knowing that God already sees all aspects of our hearts, how should we react? I believe that, instead of denial or avoidance, we should welcome the Holy Spirit to guide us in recognizing our sins (John 16:8). Rather than harden our hearts or turn a blind eye to ourselves, we should genuinely share our struggles and challenges with the Lord, who hears all our troubles.
As believers, we must remember that God’s goal isn’t to condemn but to help us (John 3:16). He wants to guide and support our faith journey, ensuring we move forward with courage and assurance, not weighed down with regret or unresolved issues (Joshua 1:9).
In this sense, when we sincerely seek to repent with open hearts, we are also aiming to deepen our bond with God, who already knows us. I believe that, when we do this, we can begin to authentically walk in closer alignment with Him, according to His will for our lives.
Indeed, knowing that God sees our hearts, including our struggles with sin or negative thoughts / feelings, is a raw but nonetheless necessary part to walking in His forgiveness and freedom in Christ.