During my most recent visit to Nepal, I climbed a mountain with the aid of a most amazing sherpa. He guided us nearly straight up the mountain. Even though he nearly died in the process, he made sure I didn’t have to do any maneuver more difficult than I could manage.
But there we arrived at the top of a gorgeous mountain, and there he introduced me to “The Guru”. The Guru walked right up to me while I was still taking off my pack, looked me straight in the eye and said, “I’ve been waiting for you.”
I was a little shocked at first. Maybe the sherpa had called ahead. Maybe The Guru was just that good. Regardless, I eventually responded with a grin, and said “Awesome, great, then let’s get started…”
I explained a little about who I was, where I was from, what I did. I told him a bit about my family, my job, my church. But then I told him why I had come. I was told he was The Guru, and I was looking for answers. In fact, I was looking for questions. In fact, I’d settle for neither questions nor answers, as long as I got something real. In fact, it was worth the trip up the mountain just to know The Truth.
As as I pulled out a solid gold brick from my pack, I handed it to The Guru and said “Please, what is The Truth?” And The Guru, without taking his eyes off me, took the gold brick and threw it off the mountain. He responded only with “I’ve been waiting for you.”
You can imagine what was going through my head just then, but you’d fall short of really feeling the disappointment. I had climbed this mountain to find answers, and I would have to leave with less than I came. It takes a long time to get enough money together to buy a gold brick. It takes a lot of effort to drag a gold brick up a mountain. I had thought it would make a fair trade for The Truth. Why did he throw it off the mountain? Why does he only say “I’ve been waiting for you?”
Of course. He doesn’t want a gold brick. He lives on a mountain. What would he do with a gold brick on a mountain other than throw it off? What a worthless offering!
I expressed my apologies for offering him such a valueless gift, and pulled a photo album out of my bag. While in no way priceless, it does capture a lifetime of memories, of celebrations, of tragedies, of relationships. Perhaps when he says he’s been waiting for me, he wants to know all of this stuff about the people who have trudged up the mountain to see him. It seems a little strange, but I don’t value my privacy as much as I want to know The Truth.
And so I handed him the photo album. I explained it contained a lifetime of memories, of celebrations, of tragedies, of relationships. And I asked him again, “Please, what is The Truth?” And The Guru, again without taking his eyes off me, took the photo album and threw it off the mountain.”I’ve been waiting for you.”
Devastated, my eyes followed the arc of the photo album as it made its rapid decent. I think I would have rather The Guru just said the gift wasn’t enough to trade for The Truth. I think if I can’t have The Truth, I’d at least like a gold brick and a photo album.
Dejected, we began to go one by one through the items in my pack. My diplomas, my awards, my trophies, all take a one way trip to oblivion. My 401k, my 5 year plan, my work history, they all follow the same suit. With each thing, I ask “Please, what is The Truth?” Each time The Guru responds only with “I’ve been waiting for you.”
I have nothing left but the empty pack. It’s filled with dirt and grime. Frankly, it’s disgusting; a reminder of the hard walk I’ve taken trying to collect the brick and the album and the awards and the work history. It’s now the most worthless thing I own. It’s now the only thing I own. But I want The Truth so bad that I’m even willing to give up the very thing I was hoping to carry it around in. “So fine, Mr. Guru, here is my pack. I have nothing left to offer you. You have thrown all that I had off the mountain. So here is the thing that I use to carry all the stuff I’d hoped to acquire after learning The Truth. Please, I just want to know, what is The Truth?”
He takes the pack, throws it from the mountain. And now that there is nothing between us, The Guru places his hand on my shoulder, looks me in the eye, and says as he moves to embrace me, “I’ve been waiting for you.”
And as I stand on that mountain, completely broken, wrapped in the arms of a man who has said nothing more than he’s been waiting for me, it dawns on me: He doesn’t want stuff. He doesn’t want the products of a life he hasn’t lived. He wants me. Maybe the companionship. Maybe the slave labor. Maybe he’s just going to kill me. Regardless, this whole time he’s been telling me what his price is for The Truth. I’ve been bargaining with too little. And frankly, regardless of his intentions once he has me, I have nothing else now. It’s all been thrown from the mountain. If it is just slave labor, at least it will be at the hands of someone who knows The Truth. If it’s death, I’ll die knowing The Truth.
And so I push him away with a look of surprise, “I understand now. I’m what you’ve been waiting for. I’m what you want in exchange for The Truth. I don’t know what you plan to do with me. I don’t know what it means to trade myself for The Truth. But if that’s what it takes, then fine, let’s do it. Please, in exchange for my own life, what is The Truth?”
He shakes his head. He embraces me again. He says “You have asked me so many times ‘What is The Truth?’ Every time you ask, it is my pleasure to answer: I’ve been waiting for you.”
This is The Truth. The God of Truth has been waiting for me. I climbed a mountain looking for something I could fit in my pack and come back down and make lots of gold bars and lots of photo albums. I wanted to know how to get more awards. I wanted to know how to be more successful at work. He threw it all off the mountain and told me the thing that I never expected to hear.
The God of Truth has been waiting for me. That’s The Truth. And it changes everything. The God who created everything valuable has said that I am most valuable. The God who created all people has made me part of His family. The God who is the One True God has given me the only eternal award, the only trophy that will last. My 401k plan is out of this world. My retirement is guaranteed. All the things I had chased on this world to try and fill my pack are meaningless by comparison.
I don’t know if I want to push this analogy much further. It breaks down in so many places. For starters, Jesus is no sherpa. He’s not leading the way to God; He is The Way. And I haven’t been given just a glimpse of The Truth, I’ve been given a new life by Jesus who is The Life. And to be really fair, The Truth isn’t that God has been waiting for me. Jesus is The Truth, and he’s not just waiting for me. He’s died for me. He’s risen for me. He’s living for me. He’s preparing a place for me. He’s going to call me home one day, and we’re going to spend eternity laughing at just how small my analogies have been compared to greatness of The Truth.
So don’t believe this little story. I’ve never been to Nepal. Don’t trust me. Trust the man who says far crazier things than these.
for everything :)
Better still…rooms down the hallway. :)
I’m still reading, though I know that’s not why you write. At any rate, you had me going there for just a moment about having been to Nepal. :) I love that one day we’ll have mansions down the road from yours. I miss your authenticity. Be blessed abundantly, brother.