Matters of the Heart

If you’ve traveled north on I-65 in the past few weeks, toward Huntsville, you probably discovered quite a traffic back-up in the Hartselle area. That’s because the Alabama Department of Transportation had to close several miles of the northbound interstate after a massive sinkhole devoured a couple of the northbound lanes. News reports tell us that they hope to have the sinkhole filled and the road repaired within the next week or so, but for now you can expect some frustrating detours.

It reminds me of a few years ago, right after they opened the new Colonial Promenade shopping center in Alabaster, when large sections of the parking lot caved in because of sinkholes. It does make you wonder what road or parking lot may cave in next. I’ve driven on that stretch of interstate many times. What if the road had collapsed at one of those times when I was driving across it, heaving me into the abyss, never to be heard from again. What if?
Sinkholes are an interesting phenomenon. They are basically a geological problem, and occur for varioius reasons when underground streams either dry up during a drought or wash out during times of heavy rain, causing the ground at the surface to lose its underlying support. Mining can also lead to the same effect, especially when it produces voids beneath the surface of the ground and causes shifts in those underground streams. Suddenly, and often unexpectedly, everything just caves in, leaving people with the frightening suspicion that nothing–not even the earth beneath their feet–is trustworthy.
The truth is, there are a lot of people whose lives are like one of those sinkholes. At one time or another, you feel like you’re on the verge of a sinkhole-like cave-in, just a moment away from a collapse that will threaten to sweep your entire world into a bottomless pit. It is what author Gordon MacDonald calls The Sinkhole Syndrome.
The question is, do we have something “solid” beneath the surface of our lives that will provide a strong foundation whatever comes our way? Or have we just spent most of our time and energy focusing only on that which is visible, while neglecting the subterranean matters of the heart?
It’s an easy temptation, especially in a world that focuses so much on how we project a surface-level image instead of deeper, “below-ground” issues. But God calls us to do just the opposite, to make sure our heart is in order as our top priority. The challenge for us, as usual, is to go against the flow of our society and invest our lives more on internals than externals. When we do, we find that the matters of the heart are truly the heart of the matter.
My prayer for you is that God will shore up your life from the inside out, so that you will never have a cave-in, no matter how much pressure you face. When He fills your life, all the weight in the world cannot overwhelm you. As the old hymn reminds us, He is the Solid Rock.
I look forward to seeing you again at Shelby Crossings this Sunday as we gather to worship together.
–Pastor Ken