Make sure your heart is in order

If you traveled north on I-65 a few weeks back, toward Huntsville, you probably discovered quite a traffic back-up in the Hartselle area. That’s because the Alabama Department of Transportation had to detour several miles of the northbound interstate after a massive sinkhole devoured a couple of the northbound lanes.

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 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. 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 you have something “solid” beneath the surface of your life that will provide a strong foundation whatever comes your way? Or have you just spent most of your 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.