Sometimes we enter streets ignoring signs to realize later that it is a dead end and back track in embarrassment. Sometimes we enter one way roads and may not realize it until we spot the first vehicle in the opposite direction. In sum, we realize that we are in the wrong direction only when faced with the consequences. However, it is important if we knew where the road leads before took the turn to that road and before bumping into something that is disastrous.
Making wrong choices about the direction our life takes is much serious than the analogy used so far. It is okay in driving to enter the wrong roads and to realize that we are wrong direction. We can always take a U-turn or reverse. But life may involve choices of huge consequences as one of my friend recently found out. His family did not realize that the road they have taken will lead them to a financial ruin when they were close to their retirement. Each step in the path was comfortable, there was no warning signs until calamity struck them unaware.
The prayer of the psalmist in Psalm 139:23-24 is helpful here. Most of the translations agree more or less with that of TNIV: "Search me, O 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." The word translated "offensive" could also mean "hurtful". These are ways that may lead us to situations that may hurt us.
However, we are limited in our knowledge to know what awaits us at the end of the road. Will it end in situations that may bring deep loss and sorrow? The choice is between ways that leads to sorrow and the one that is ever for good and pleasing to God. However, being lost as to what choice to be made the psalmist will leave it to God. For God is all knowing and all searching God. He has been there before us. That is how the psalmist has portrayed God in this Psalm: a God who knows us from the moment we were formed in the mother's womb. He has been in the world long before us. Just as trekkers would seek the advice of guide who has been there before, we surrender to the eternal God because he has been there much before us. He knows the territory well! Moreover, he can tell us what is going on inside us, in our thoughts!
Searching is a constant activity, each step and every turn in life we need to surrender to God's scrutiny and approval. That is the secret of life that has outcome which is eternal.