“There are hidden treasures strategically placed along the way.
Some of the treasures are trials, designed to shake you free from earth-shackles. Others are blessings that reveal My Presence…”
Jesus Calling, May 23
A rock collector named Robert Cutshaw once found a rock he described as “big and pretty.” He tried to sell it, and when that failed, he kept the rock under his bed in the dark. Rob guessed the blue chunk of rock could bring as much as $500, but he would have taken less for it if an urgent bill needed paying. That’s how close he came to selling for a few hundred dollars what turned out to be the largest, most valuable sapphire ever found. The Blue Rock that Rob had once abandoned to the darkness — now known as the “Star of David” sapphire — could easily sell for several million dollars.
Cutshaw’s story makes me wonder how many of us have a treasure hidden in the darkness of our lives and are unaware of its immense value. God wants us to have full access to all His blessings and to the reward that He has already laid aside for us. The problem is that many of us are unaware of this treasure He has for us. We live in desperation, wondering when we are going to get a break, wondering when God’s finally going to come through for us.
Plant a seed
So, how can we discover this fantastic treasure for ourselves and let God use it to take care of our needs? Sometimes, in order for God to meet a need, we must first plant a seed.
Many years ago, our church ministry was about to be kicked out of a school where we had been meeting for Sunday services. While we had no idea what would happen, we continued to teach the Word and take care of each other like brothers and sisters in Christ should. I was still at Dallas Seminary at the time, and one day as I walked by a staff member there, he casually said to me, “Oh, by the way, did you know that a small church on Camp Wisdom Road is getting ready to move, and they are looking to sell?” Before the year was done, we moved to our permanent church home.
Because we had stayed diligent in fulfilling our calling as a ministry, teaching the Word and caring for each other, God revealed a wonderful treasure that was mere blocks from the school we had occupied. If you stay diligent with what He has given you, He will fill you to overflowing with blessings down the road.
Let Life Press Down
If you went to the grocery store looking for a particular amount of rice, the person behind the counter would pour that rice into a measuring pot or scale of some kind. But he would not fill it to the precise measure straightaway; he would only go three-quarters of the way up and then shake the pot and press on the rice. The reason for the shaking is to both level out the rice and fill in any gaps that formed underneath. Such shaking and pressing allows you to go home with more rice.
That’s what God can do in the midst of your trouble; He lets life press down on you so He can fill in the gaps. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:8, “We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair.” (CSB). After all, it is in the darkness of life that God prepares us for His best.
Over this last year, I lost my brother, lost my sister, lost my sister’s husband, lost my niece to a heart attack at age 39. I also lost a niece on my wife’s side of the family, in her thirties. I lost my father, and I lost my wife. My daughter Priscilla had lung surgery due to some growth irregularities that needed to be removed. My oldest daughter Chrystal had growth in her leg that was suspect. Our family has faced a lot of challenges during the last couple years.
Trust God’s Faithfulness
It’s easy to trust God when everything is right, blessings are flowing, prayers are being answered, needs are being met. That’s the fun part of the faith. But sometimes, you have to trust God when you don’t see the benefits, the blessings, and all the frills of the faith. We can learn to trust God in the dark, when there is not clarity, when He becomes inscrutable. He is still faithful.
God never said the kingdom life would be easy. He just said it would be worth it. I remember how my father, living through difficult years of race relations in our nation, stayed focused on God’s Word rather than his circumstances. Even when he didn’t have work and our family struggled with poverty, he showed me what a man — a kingdom man — looks like. His legacy of faithfulness was forged during dark times.
The hardships you face can be distracting, even paralyzing. So, I invite you to lift your eyes from your circumstances and focus them on our faithful God. His greatest treasures may be hidden in your present darkness.
Dr. Tony Evans is Senior Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship (Dallas, TX) and founder of The Urban Alternative, a worldwide media ministry. In 2019 Dr. Evans became the first African American in history to author a Study Bible (The Tony Evans Study Bible) as well as a one-volume Bible Commentary (The Tony Evans Bible Commentary). www.TonyEvans.org