Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Treasure is Me

The message was as clear as day. I had been walking to my favorite reflection place overlooking a small lake that is a sanctuary for every kind of bird that can survive the Minnesota climate. Alongside the path, I heard the rustling of last year's leaves and looked to see what animal was making the noise. I heard God whisper, "Wait still. Watch." So I did.

The rustling continued, maybe 15-20 feet from where I stood, but I couldn't see the creature. I must have stood still for 5-10 minutes watching and listening. Nothing. I began conversing with God.

"Is something coming?"

"Wait. Patience." I waited. Nothing.

"How long do I need to wait?"


At this point my mind drifted to what God might be trying to show me. Could it be analogous to our last five years in ministry, where finally things are beginning to move in the right direction? It has seemed like a breakthrough has occurred and God has been moving in our midst. "Does this mean that we're finally going to see the good things we've been praying for?" God didn't answer. I waited a few minutes. "Now would be a good time for the animal to come out."

"What if it doesn't? What if it never comes out? Was this time of stillness meaningless?" I thought for a minute and then God continued. "Can you honestly say that on this journey you have found satisfaction in me? The treasure isn't whatever animal comes out of those woods. The treasure is me."

I stood for a moment more then continued down the path. A minute later, I heard rustling again beside me. I paused momentarily and thought about stopping. "The treasure is me." I continued on my way. I was on my way to meet with my Father, to receive the treasure of his presence. No matter what comes out of the woods (or doesn't come out), the treasure is always there to be sought and received.

After writing the previous sentence, I sat still again, enjoying the presence of my God. Remarkably, the rustling started again, louder and closer. I thought, "I would have been satisfied. I didn't need to see it." God smiled and the rustling continued. I stood up and peeked out the open door of the birdwatching blind and watched as a small sparrow hopped through the leaves.

You could go a couple of ways with this. One, isn't God a better treasure than a couple of dumb birds? Or two, when God is our treasure, nothing is insignificant. He loves to delight and surprise, confuse and confound, amaze and embrace.