The little girl eyed her treasure with great appreciation. Her father had given it to her with special instructions. The gift was precious. It wasn’t an “everyday use” kind of gift. In fact, it really shouldn’t be used until the “proper time”. He was pleased to give it to her and he wanted her to enjoy it. He even wanted her to have it before she could fully appreciate it – so that she could learn to appreciate it.
He would keep it high on a shelf where it could be protected until its proper time for use. But occasionally, they could take it down together and, under his watchful eye, she could hold it, inspect it, wonder about it, dream about the day that it could be fully utilized…
You may or may not know that I like to communicate with God during long bike rides in beautiful Albuquerque, NM. A few years ago during one such ride, God and I were contemplating various relationships (romantic and otherwise). I found myself saying, “God, I can’t trust my own heart. It has gotten me into so much trouble in the past. Would you hold it for me for safe keeping until the time YOU decide I’m ready to handle it?”
Then I had this mental image of a gigantic curio cabinet where God happily held such treasures for His beloved. He would gladly take my heart for safe keeping until the proper time. He would carefully set it high on a shelf, placed on a small rack for display (of course aptly labeled “Michelle’s heart”) and ensure that it was dusted off and cared for.
But it wasn’t just my heart that was on the shelf.
As I “zoomed out” from this mental image, I saw other items in the cabinet. (Now, stay with me here. Picture Disney cartoon not slasher flick…) There was a tongue, a stomach, a brain, a set of eyes… These were things other people needed to have held there for safe keeping. They couldn’t trust the words that came out of their mouth, the food & drink that they put in their belly, the thoughts that were in their mind, the images their eyes would see… Like me, they had willingly given God control over those things – until they could handle them or, for some, maybe even forever.
I like to think of God like a parent who gives his child special gifts at an age where they can’t always fully appreciate them – many of these are delicate, fragile, breakable. And so the parent puts the item high on a protected shelf where it can be seen but not fully utilized until the proper time. Like my deceitful heart.
I like that idea. I want it there for safe keeping.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.