A really, really long time ago, a Roman writer named “Pliny the Elder” coined a phrase that we still use today. He came up with this phrase after observing the behavior of a particular bird. The ostrich. Apparently, when an Ostrich is being faced with confrontation from a predator, the ostrich thinks it can avoid the confrontation by (here is where we get the popular phrase): “Sticking its head in the sand.”
Fast forward a couple thousand years, and you’ll see that we still use this term in our culture. Basically, what Pliny the Elder had in mind when he coined this phrase was the idea that humans have a tendency to handle our “predators” like an ostrich. We bury our heads in the sand. We refuse to acknowledge or confront the problem. We kid ourselves into thinking that if we just ignore the problem long enough, it will eventually go away.
When my wife and I used to have an unhealthy amount of credit card debt, I often would refuse to look at the balance each month. It was one piece of mail that I stayed as far away from as I could. I really thought that if I didn’t know how much we owed, than the weight of the credit card debt wouldn’t affect my heart. I had bought into the common lie that ignoring the problem (or predator) was the best path to take. Man, was I wrong!
The reason I didn’t confront the debt wasn’t because I didn’t know how to solve the problem. That part was simple: 1) Cut up the cards. 2) Don’t buy things you can’t afford with REAL CASH. The reason I didn’t confront the problem was because the real problem wasn’t a spending problem. It was a heart problem. The “predator” wasn’t a plastic card I kept in my wallet; it was a discontented heart. As I read proverbs 20 today, the phrase that caught my attention immediately was found in verse 5:
“The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of wisdom draws them out.”
King Solomon is onto something big when he is writing this! He said in one sentence something that we all know, but typically hate to confront. Every human heart has layers upon layers of “stuff.” Some stuff is good, healthy, and right. Yet, other stuff is toxic, dysfunctional, and deceptive. He goes on to say that the wise man does the exact opposite of the ostrich. The wise person is the man or woman who is gutsy enough to expose the deepest recesses of their heart, identify the issues, and confront it head-on!
The spoils of the Kingdom of Heaven (peace, joy, contentment, confidence, rest, etc.) go to the person with courage to take an honest look in the mirror and do something about it!
What layers are on your heart today? What is “under the water” that you know you need to address, but you just haven’t had the courage to do so? What would it take to be boldly honest with yourself and surrender it all to God? That’s what the wise do.
The irony of the ostrich is that it is the second fastest animal on land! (Whatever Cheetah!) Why would it burry it’s head in the sand and hide from a predator when it could just out run it if it had courage? Honesty gives the heart its legs to conquer. Its speed! In the Kingdom of God…Honesty = Victory!
Grace and peace from the Pastor of Disaster,