One of the national news headlines yesterday caught my eye: “New California Sinkhole Stuns Locals as Pond Disappears.” Not the kind of news you read every day, that’s for sure. I tried to imagine a pond disappearing into the abyss. Here today, gone tomorrow.
It does seem like there’s a sinkhole story in the news more and more these days. You probably saw the tragic story just last month of the man in Seffner, Florida, near Tampa, whose house was swallowed up by a sinkhole–with him in it. He was forever entombed in his own home.
Even the new Regions Field baseball stadium in downtown Birmingham has had a sinkhole problem, which is threatening to delay its completion in time for the Barons’ home opener in a few weeks. One of the main plaza entryways to the ballpark was devoured by a massive sinkhole in late January, and engineers are concerned that more areas of the stadium, including the actual playing field itself, are prone to more sinkholes.
Sinkholes are an interesting phenomenon. They are basically a geological problem, and occur for various 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.
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, in his book Ordering Your Private World, 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, and “all other ground is sinking sand.”
I’m praying for you, as I hope you are for me, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.