I recently read a fascinating article about the California Gold Rush, which took place during the mid-1800s. Thousands fled to the far western coast of the United States in hopes of finding the next cache of gold and a shot at a possible fortune. While a few truly did strike it rich, most of the hopefuls went away disappointed.
Enter onto the scene iron pyrite, commonly known as “fool’s gold,” and many folks plummeted from elation to devastation upon discovering that their find was not the real deal. Nitric acid became a standard method for determining the authenticity of gold. If a miner found something that appeared to be gold, he would put a few drops of nitric acid on a cloth, rub the prospective gold, and see what happened. If the gold markings disappeared, he knew he had found “fool’s gold.” If the gold remained after applying the nitric acid, he had cause for great rejoicing!
The phrase “acid test” originated during this time and is now applied to far more than simply testing for gold. It can apply to any time something we thought was valuable turns out to be worthless. It carries the idea that appearances can be deceiving, and what looks good on the outside may, in fact, be worth little or nothing at its core.
I’d say in our current state of the world, the coronavirus and accompanying stay-at-home orders have become the “acid test” for our true heart motivations and the authenticity of our walk with the Lord. A few drops of isolation and we’ve been exposed, one way or another. Everything that can be shaken has been shaken, and there has been a sifting of our hearts, a metaphorical panning for gold.
Make no mistake about it … the “real you” is being revealed on a daily basis. There is no escaping it. Our reliance on money, our penchant for entertainment, our propensity toward selfishness, our bent for worry over faith … we have all become painfully aware of our shortcomings as we ponder how we will pay our bills, adapt to new methods instead of “business as usual,” and relate to our co-workers and loved ones in a contained and stress-filled environment. Has any “fool’s gold” been exposed in your life this month?
Yeah, me too.
May I give you one piece of advice? Don’t fight it. Let the nitric acid of this season do it’s work in your life. Let the truth come to the surface so everything false can be skimmed away. We keep hearing that there will be no returning to normal when this thing is over, so let that be true when it comes to our attitudes, our hearts, our integrity, our faith, our words, and our compassion. Rather than grieving the raw reality of our shortcomings and all the ways we are getting it wrong, let’s press forward into allowing all that’s within us to be tested and then transformed by the power of God.
If we come out on the other side of this thing the same as we’ve entered it, then we’ve squandered a prime opportunity to be changed into the likeness of Jesus. There is so much we cannot control right now, so let’s focus on what we can. Let go of everything that is truly of no value and pursue the only thing that really is, pure and simple devotion to Christ. Only that which is “tried and true” will remain on the other side.
1 Corinthians 3:11-13 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.