Posted by: karanoel | January 30, 2011

Where is my treasure?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

A long drive on a wet day

I went to pick up Cole at a friend’s house today. It was raining and beautiful. There was much on my heart. So instead of turning onto Josh’s street, I continued on and wandered through Santiago Canyon. The green hills rose up into the fog as rain poured down over the landscape. It didn’t feel like the Orange County I know, but like the hills of Costa Rica or the long bus ride through Peru. The visual separation from my world helped me focus on the task at hand… complete surrender.

The starting place for surrender had to do with something specific (doesn’t it always?). But the Lord is just using the present circumstance to press in on my heart and ask, “Do you trust me? Do you believe that I want the best for your life and won’t let you miss out on any good thing?” It is easy for me to flippantly say I trust him or even earnestly think I do, but what I actually believe is shown by my actions. Can I, like Abraham, declare my utter trust in the Lord by laying the treasured things in my heart – and all they represent – on the altar of the Lord?

Last night, I went to a church where my favorite teaching pastor (apart from my dad, of course) taught from Matthew 6 about treasuring wrongly. He said many insightful things and got me thinking. If there is anything we can’t freely hand it over to the Lord to let him decide what to do with, we are treasuring wrongly. We will be bound by our desire. It doesn’t matter if it’s a good thing and we can justify it in the depths of our being. The result will be worry, frustration, fear, and unrest.

The rub is that if we hand things over to the Lord, it is possible – maybe even likely – that he will handle them differently than we would like to see. So the tendency is to cling more tightly to the treasure, or hand it over to God with all sorts of fine print on what he will be allowed to do with it. When we trust our own vision, character, and ways over his, the end result is a breakdown in trust. But the opposite is also true. When we trust his vision, character, and ways over our own – even in the smallest measure with the most quivering movements – trust will be formed and surrender will become the natural response.

Over dinner after church, I was invited by a friend to hike a very big mountain in the summer. It would be absolutely impossibility for me to do right now, or maybe ever. But the only way I will really know is to start where I am, with the small hills I climb and flat sea-level walks I take, stretching a little beyond what is comfortable each time. It would also require that I follow a training regimen, building my muscles to handle mountainous terrain, increasing my lung capacity to handle lofty altitudes, and stilling my doubts about my inability to accomplish such a feat. And then I have to try climbing the mountain.

To make things clear, this is an metaphor (I’m not committing myself to climb a crazy tall mountain!). This is the way trust is built. And the way I find myself atop the mountain of faith, looking down on the journey that got me there. I’ve got to start where I am, in the very situations I’m walking out. The Lord didn’t put them there to thwart or discourage me, or to cause me pain. He put them there as training, to stretch me and build my muscles of trust and faith, so that I can handle the mountainous places he has called me to maneuver with ease (He makes my feet like those of a deer and gives me sure footing on high places. Psalm 18:33). It may look like an impossibility that I could be surefooted on steep slopes and rocky places, but God has laid out the plan to get me there. All I need to do is respond to his plan, surrendering anything in my heart that would get in the way.

It was an impassioned time in the car today. My heart was crying out to lay everything on the altar of the God I trust; the God I am learning to trust more. As peace settled over me, I could see how much stronger I’ve become on all these hills the Lord has climbed with me… through the times I thought there was not enough air, strength, or mental fortitude to continue. It was through these times that trust was forged, surrender made possible, and faith freed up to work as it was meant to…  the kind of faith that will allow me to climb the highest of peaks and manage the rockiest of terrain. Want to join me?


Responses

  1. Great analogy with the hills. So when does the book on faith and trusting come out?

    • The book will come when I scale that metaphorical mountain baby!

  2. Yes.

    • Amen!

  3. grateful for your insights here, friend! just because some of your friends are say 18 years older does not mean the terrain is so different…
    Thanks or our anniversary blessing too!
    Glad you favorite teaching pastor forwarded this to us.
    bry

    • My other favorite teaching pastor, not to mention sherpa! So grateful for the love and insights you’ve provided on the steep hills and the way you’ve lived this faith in very real and tangible ways. Excited about this year for you, Barb, & Henry. It’s gonna be a good one. Big love, K


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