Since I was a little girl, I have liked rocks, specifically collecting rocks.
In my early elementary years at Chinquapin Elementary School, I began a rock collection. Many days I would invite other children to join me to gather up rocks from the schoolyard and surrounding woods. We formed a massive rock pile that stood many years after the school closed in 1986, and was later torn down. After gathering so many rocks, the rocks seemed to run out, as if we had collected every single one in the allowable area. So, when another rock was found, it was as if a treasure had been discovered!
My family and I recently acquired a small piece of woods behind our house. My husband dreamed of our kids playing army and building forts, while I decided that a walking path would be what I would create. I cleared weeds, thorns, and branches to create a path. When I started clearing the way, I began to find rocks that I would toss to the side to clear the path. I found so many that I created a rock lined portion of my path. It was almost storybook worthy. However, just as a young girl at Chinquapin Elementary School, the rocks seemed to run out, as if I had collected all there was to find in the woods.
I am not sure how it happened, whether the thick dirt settled or whether my keen eye for looking for rocks has become more defined, but recently rocks have begun to “appear” in places I scoured when I was on my rock hunt. Some have appeared just outside my path. Surely I would have seen them before?
This morning, while I was on my daily (at least I try) walk in the woods, one of those rocks appeared. It was just off the path, but I had to look through a huge patch of thick thorns to see it. During the summer, the thorns would have concealed it completely, as green sprouts would have covered and darkened the area where the rock rested. However, a new season revealed a rock that had been there all along, just hidden from sight until the right time.
Lately, I feel like I am experiencing new seasons and changes often. I am not used to this, and some of it I find exciting, but other seasons I find very lonely and isolating. A new season makes the leaves of the thorns die back, revealing what’s there underneath. In my own life, it seems to be that way, as if God is saying, “This is what I’m revealing to you - cut away the thorns to retrieve your treasure.” The treasure has been several things: forgiveness, another step in a new direction with my music, a new perspective to make a situation understandable. Unfortunately, sometimes the thorns are my own sinful thorns of bitterness and grudges; but, sometimes they are thorns of hurt that have dug deeply into my skin, tearing places and leaving scars of where I’ve been.
In Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles, He offers God’s promise,
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
Psalm 63:8 says (and I love the way the old school KJV reads,)
My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
All the time we are following hard after God, His right hand upholds us. I love the way AW Tozer writes about this:
The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him. and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand.
God promises to be found when we seek Him. That’s a promise to KNOW with my head, and to remind my heart when it FEELS like He is nowhere to be found. God doesn’t promise an answer right away, because maybe the clearing of thorns has to happen to reveal His plan, or to make us (ME) aware of our (MY) own sinfulness.
So, follow hard. Seek with all your heart. Cut away the thorns. Wait for a new season. There is (more) treasure to be found, just beyond the thorns.