Gold Rush

“I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”
Isaiah 45:3 NIV

My family and I recently took a weekend trip to Dahlonega, a quiet town in the north Georgia mountains. Southern Living named it Georgia’s Best Small Town in 2023, known for its accessible downtown area and scenic views of nearby mountains and waterfalls. But Dahlonega is most famous for being the site of one of the United States’ first major gold rushes, occurring nearly twenty years before the California Gold Rush. The name Dahlonega is derived from the Cherokee word meaning "yellow.” 

After the initial discovery in 1829, the Dahlonega Gold Rush brought thousands of prospectors to Georgia seeking fortunes. Gold rushes tend to bring out the worst in humanity; murder, mayhem, and lawlessness abound in the dogged pursuit of riches. A scarcity mentality fueled by lust and greed breeds unhealthy competition for precious resources in the endless quest for more. Scarcity is a liar and whispers that there is never enough. As I wandered through the museum downtown, I heard the Lord whisper His words in contrast:

You are children in MY family in MY house, and there is no scarcity in Christ, only abundance. 

I know this, but do I pursue Him like my life depends on it? When I take an inventory of how I spend my time, what do I find? What things do I chase after to satisfy the longings in my soul, thinking they will bring peace but only leave me wanting more?  

What if I pursued God like those miners chased after gold? 

When it comes to gold, panning is for amateurs; mining is for professionals. Panning is a simple and relatively low-cost process, and anyone can do it, evidenced by its popularity with school children on field trips and families on vacation. Panning occasionally yields small gold nuggets or considerable amounts of dust collected by hobbyists and sold in clear tubes as souvenirs in gift shops. Panning isn’t very lucrative, but it can help locate parent gold veins buried deep beneath the earth, where the real treasure is.

Miners would dig deep into the earth, hoping to strike it rich by hitting what geologists call a bonanza gold vein. Gold veins are a prospector’s dream; they are solidified streams of high-grade gold formed in rock fractures, just ripe for the picking. Mining takes time and patience, the right tools for drilling, excavation, and extraction, and it is incredibly costly. 

The same is true for my spiritual life. I can spend time panning for gold in shallow waters, hoping to find a nugget or a dusting of God’s presence. I can exist on a surface level, settling for shiny glimpses of God’s mere reflection, or I can go deeper until I hit a vein. I can dig deeper and learn to wait in His presence before rushing off to the next thing, going deeper in my time with Him, deeper in His word, and hoping to strike a vein. Except these hopes are not in vain. It’s a promise directly from His Word that we can bank on. 

In Isaiah 45:3, God speaks directly to His children that He wants to give us treasures hidden in the darkness–secret riches. He wants us to know Him and pursue Him. He is calling us by name, and we will find Him if we diligently seek Him wholeheartedly. 

The prospectors never had that kind of assurance. But we do. 

It’s easy to mistake busyness, doing important things for God, and not spending time with God. Don’t equate ministry with intimacy. 

At the beginning of this year, one morning during my quiet time, I heard the Lord say, “Go lower.” Not higher. Not busier. I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant at the time, so I responded by physically getting lower on my knees, face to the floor, during my prayer time, which is proving more challenging to do these days with my aging knees and back! It wasn’t until I meandered through that museum in downtown Dahlonega that I heard the words…

Go lower. Keep digging until you hit a vein.

Psalm 25:14 says that God reveals His secrets to His friends; He confides in those who fear Him. In Jeremiah 3A3:3, God says, Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” And Psalm 19:7-10 declares:

“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the honeycomb.”

Friends, God is the prize. His presence is better than any gold or riches. Are we seeking Him above all things, as Scripture commands us to seek first the Kingdom and love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength? What are we putting first? No time spent seeking Him is ever wasted, even if you don’t “feel” goosebumps. He is worthy of our wholehearted, daily pursuit. Nothing in this world will ever satisfy or compare. Don’t let the busyness of the world seduce you into thinking otherwise. Let’s not settle for scraps when we have access to deep riches and treasures in God’s Word and His presence. He is calling us to go lower and dig deeper. 

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