When I hear the words hidden treasure I always smile remembering my youngest son, Taylor, running to meet me after a half-day of preschool. Holding tightly to a bright blue bucket decorated with an abundance of stickers and bearing his name in big red puffy paint letters – TAYLOR. Inside that bucket would be his day’s work – drawings, popsicle stick creations, and most importantly his treasures. “Look what I found today, Mommy!” he would proudly announce, “treasures!” Face beaming, he would add, “I found them so they’re mine! I get to bring them home!”
The creative teachers at Taylor’s school had buried thousands of small pieces of party confetti – shiny stars, moons, squares, triangles, and animal shapes – in the sandy outdoor playground. Then they supplied the kids with lots of small shovels. So while they waited for their turn on the tricycles or the slide, or lined up to choose balls or get a drink of water from the fountain, the children were encouraged to dig in the sand to discover “treasures.” It was a wonderful distraction that helped make waiting more fun. And it became a game of discovery and reward. Two years of playing in that playground, and the kids never tired of finding “treasures” to bring home as a reminder of what they could find when they took the time to look for it.
And God is reminding me of similar hidden treasures today.
“I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness–secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.”
(Isaiah 45:3 NLT)
When I first heard this verse, I felt relieved by the promise it held. That it might help me understand some hidden meaning behind the particularly dark and confusing time that followed the end of my marriage. I was comforted to know that God had treasures and secret riches to share with me. Treasures hidden in the darkness for me to find. So I began to search. And He rewarded me.
I discovered things about myself that had been hidden – secrets about me that I didn’t know.
Like that I can do hard things even when I’m afraid. That I’m never alone even when the house is silent. And that who I am – just as I am – is enough for God to love.
And then there are the treasures. The delicious joy of being fully available to family and friends. The freedom to follow my passions for writing and photography and travel. And most importantly, the deeper, richer relationships I now have with those who walked with me through the difficult days. My family and lifelong friends. And new friends that I may never have known if God had sent me down a different path.
The hidden treasures and secret riches have been amazing. And just like Taylor knew his playground treasures belonged to him and he could take them home and keep them forever, I can keep all of these treasures and always call them my own. But here is something even more amazing.
The treasures and secret riches God has shown me are not the end-game.
Unlike the treasures that young Taylor and his friends searched for on the playground, the treasures of God aren’t awarded simply because we spend time looking for them. Or to help us be patient while we wait for what’s next. God doesn’t pass out secret riches with the sentiment, “Here you go…something to help you feel better. I know you’re going through some difficult times, and I’m giving you this treasure to reward your perseverance. Hold on to this treasure as a reminder of everything you’ve learned and how hard you’ve worked to find it.” While the treasures can certainly help us feel better about our circumstances, God doesn’t stop there.
God gives us treasures hidden in the darkness and shows us secret riches so we may know that He is God and He calls us by name.
The purpose of the treasure is to reveal God’s heart toward us and to firmly secure us in His love. This is the greater joy!
My greatest joy today comes from knowing that the treasures and secrets I find while traveling through dark trials are uniquely crafted by God. He uses them to reveal Himself in moments when I need to know that He cares deeply about me and my suffering. And that He will remain on the throne, in control of my life and every possible outcome because He is my God and I belong to Him, my Father who calls me by my name.
I’m celebrating the greater joy with you today as we continue to discover the unique hidden treasures God has waiting for each of us! I would love to hear what riches He has revealed to you!