Find the Hidden
By Sharon Jaynes
Several years ago, I chaperoned a group of fourth graders on a field trip to
Reid Gold Mine. The tour guide took us through dark musty tunnels, explaining
how the miners one hundred years ago, searched for veins of gold imbedded in the
rocks and hidden beneath the mud. Many panned for years in hopes of finding a
few valuable nuggets. After the tour we each grabbed a sieve and panned for gold
in the mountain stream.
First we lowered our pans into the mud and filled our sieves. Then we shook
the pans back and forth, allowing the clear stream water to flow over its
contents. The silt and dirt filtered through the screen and fell back into the
stream as hopeful children (and a few adults) searched for gold. Unfortunately,
none of us struck it rich that day, but I did walk away with a valuable lesson.
As I filled the sieve with mud, I saw a picture of the dirt in my own life.
Then as the water washed over the painful memories, I envisioned God's love
washing each mistake and pain through the sieve and out into the mountain
For most of us, our pasts are filled with more dirt than we'd like to admit.
But just like panning for gold, we can sift through the mud and silt, allow
God's cleansing to wash over our memories, and discover the gold. One of the
most valuable treasures forged from difficult life circumstances, is the gift of
being able to use your experiences to help others. Paul said, God "comforts us
In all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort
we ourselves have received from God" (I Corinthians 1:4) In other words, God
does not comfort us to make us comfortable, He comforts us to make us comfort –
able, able to comfort others.
Our past trials and victories give us the supernatural ability to empathize
with someone going through a similar struggle. No one can help a woman who
suffers from the guilt of a past abortion like the woman who has received
healing and forgiveness from that same past mistake. No one can bind the open
wounds left by an abusive husband or boyfriend like a woman who bears the same
residual scars. No one can wipe away the tears of a mother who is watching a
wayward teenager make poor choices like the mother who has welcomed a prodigal
home. No one can minister to a woman who feels like damaged goods because of
childhood sexual abuse like the abused woman who now sees herself as a holy,
pure, child of the King.
Victory over hardships is a priceless treasure God has entrusted to us that
we can in turn invest into the lives of others. In the parable of the talents
found in Matthews 25, a landowner went away on a trip. Before he left, he gave
three of his servants talents (or pieces of money). To one he gave five talents,
to one he gave two, and to one he gave one. The one to whom he gave five talents
invested them and gave the owner ten upon his arrival back home. The one to whom
he gave two talents invested them and gave the owner four. But the servant who
had one talent, buried it in the sand out of fear. The master was very unhappy
and took the lone talent away and gave it to the servant who had invested
wisely. (Matthew 25:14-28).
Victory over hardship as a treasure - a talent. God is not pleased when we
bury it in the sand because of fear, but is delighted when we invest those
talents in the lives of others.
Discovering the hidden treasure in any struggle or trial can sooth a wound
better than any salve imaginable. The treasure may be increased knowledge of the
character of God or a heightened awareness of His working in your life. It could
be a character trait of your own that is sharpened or spiritual growth that
could only come in the laboratory of life. The treasure might be a heightened
sensitivity to the struggles of others. Like most treasure, you might have to
dig through mounds of dirt before you discover it, but the eternal value is
worth the effort.
My Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, I know that you are in control of all things
and that you can use everything that happens in my life for your glory. I give
you all the muck and mire of my life and pray that you will make it fertile soil
in which to grow a bountiful crop. Help me to not grow bitter when life doesn't
turn out the way I had hoped, but to grow better because of what I learn about
your character and care through my circumstances. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Do a little gold mining in your own life. Think of the gold that you have
discovered through unpleasant circumstances. Write them down and turn your list
into a prayer of praise.
- How have you ever seen God use a bad situation for His ultimate glory?
- Is there some circumstance in your life that you are having trouble
letting go of?
- Is there some area of your life in which you have struggled and are now
- Have you considered that perhaps God wants you to help someone who is
experiencing a similar situation?
- Have you buried your treasure in the sand because of fear, or are you
investing it in others?
"Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet: but one
thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ
Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14 NASB).
God "comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any
trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God" (I Corinthians
Joseph said to his brothers…"You meant evil against me, but God meant it for
good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive"
"But he [God] knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come
forth as gold" (Job 23:10).
After Job's trials he said, "My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have
seen you" (Job 42: 5).