The Gold Necklace

gold-necklace

Years ago my Grannie gave me a ring of her’s with an aquamarine stone and a few diamonds around it. It’s not something I would ever wear so it’s just sat in my jewelry box. Also, my skin has always been sensitive to metals, but in recent years it’s gotten to where I can’t even wear sterling silver, and it wasn’t until I could no longer wear silver that I realized how expensive gold is—when I started shopping for a dainty gold necklace a couple years back. And then it occurred to me that perhaps I could have a pendant made out of Grannie’s old ring. I could use the gold and diamonds and maybe save a little along the way. So I went to a jeweler and had him craft my design: a simple gold disc with a triangle made of diamonds—the symbol for delta. A constant reminder to embrace change and difficulty, to remember that hard times are what give good times their meaning.

It took me several months to save up the funds, but I finally got my long-awaited gold necklace. I admired the delicate disc, the sparkle of diamonds, the way he made it look rustic and handmade—one of a kind. I love my necklace. I wear it everyday. But as much as I wanted it and for as long as I waited for it, it didn’t take long for the novelty to fade. My gold necklace soon became an ordinary accessory.

We recently found out that Erik did not get into the physical therapy program he applied to. This was hard and heavy news, the beginning of the end of a dream. When he told me about it,  both of us unsure of what to do or how to move forward, I responded, “We will pray. God has something for you and us. I’m proud of you for trying and working so hard. It is not unnoticed or wasted.” Upon texting some family members, one of them replied, “I can’t help but think there is something greater in store for that wonderful young man and for you all as a family.”

These are comforting words, true words: God does have something in store for him/us. However, in the midst of these responses, the Lord began speaking to my heart. What if there wasn’t something “more” or “greater?” What if the life we have now was all there was, if there wasn’t a higher paying job or another child or bigger piece of land or whatever it is that makes our life meaningful and accomplished. And if this was it, all we ever attained, would it be enough? Really, is He enough? Is God alone sufficient to make life rich and fulfilling?

Our culture demands that we move onward and upward, that we create and innovate and make something of ourselves, that we self improve and educate and enlighten, that we leave nothing on the table, but take all we can get.

This striving is a two-sided coin, arguably a necessary evil. I’m not suggesting that setting goals or working hard to improve our lives is wrong, but that we’ve attached too much value to it—rested too much hope in it. We’ve idolized success and overestimated its effects. We trust that in achieving great accomplishments we will feel better about ourselves, happier with what we have, enjoy life more. But I don’t believe it. We are all like children who get new toys only to play with them for a time before tossing them aside. Then we’re on to something new, something else that catches our attention, but there will never be a toy that satisfies.

God knows this. He understands all too well that we are a selfish and discontent people. He knows that we seek meaning and fulfillment in all the wrong places, that we continually come up empty handed, our hope and joy depleted.

There is nothing wrong with dainty gold necklaces or physical therapy degrees, with new cars or nice houses or job advancements. But these are just things, gifts from God, not to be relied on for full and lasting pleasure. That is His job, to be what makes our life rich and fulfilling, apart from everything else.

He is enough.

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