If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my natural life, it is how to hide. And if there’s one thing that the Lord has walked me through so thoroughly, it is how to be hidden. There is a pivotal difference, you know – in hiding and being hidden. We all have unique aspects of the gospel message that burn in our hearts. Jesus knows exactly where to place the fire. Nearly three years ago he spoke these words to me, “From hurt to hiding to hidden to healed.” I heard it over and over. I knew He was getting ready to take me on a journey and burn these words on my heart.
I certainly knew how to hide. As a child, I was expert at the game of hide and seek. There was no length I wouldn’t go in order to not be found. I would climb to the very tops of trees, scale walls, tuck into the tiniest spaces. What a thrill to have someone be so close and not see me. As fun as it is, hide and seek loses all excitement when the seeker stops seeking. When the chase is off, hide and seek is just hiding and it becomes a very lonely game.
There are so many, who have been hiding for so long, believing the lie that no one is looking for them.
We go to church with them, work with them. We sit down and eat meals with them. Maybe we even live in the same house. And maybe we are hiding too.
Hiding looks different as an adult. A child will very literally go and hide when they are ashamed, afraid, or just plain doing something they know is wrong. An adult will hide in work, shallow relationships, addictions of many kinds, even in driven service. There is no end to the availability of hiding places.
But there is only place to be safely hidden.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”
“And you shall be called “sought out, a city not forsaken .”
He is searching for you. He sees the you that is hiding. The you that you can’t even bring yourself to look at. The you that feels left alone and forsaken. There is nowhere that He won’t come for you.
When we allow Him access to our hearts, he will take us from our hiding to being hidden in Him and the end result is a deeper healing than we could ever imagine. A healing that enables us to remain hidden in Him. Hurt will no longer send us into hiding. We take up the shield of faith against all that the enemy throws our way.
Fear is an unholy hiding of the heart. Fear is replaced by faith when we hide our hearts in Him.
When we are hidden in Christ and have received healing in Him, then we are ready to reach out to a world in hiding.
Recently, I was talking with a friend who was deep in hiding and hurt. I recognized it. I knew the desperate hopelessness of that place. Remembering my own journey out of hiding and into the hidden-ness I had found in Christ, I paused and prayed. “Lord, what is my role here?” I immediately heard the Holy Spirit respond, “Love moves closer.” So that’s what I did. I did not retreat. It’s so easy to retreat when we are looking at another’s hiding place. It seems safer to give a pat on the back and a “I’ll be praying for you.” It seems safer to say, “Well that’s just between them and the Lord.”
But love advances. And just as the Father sent Jesus, so He is sending us.
But we have to get hidden, if we have any hope of moving forward. If we are moving forward in hurt and hiding then the enemy will recognize that and he knows just how to wound us further. You know the saying, “Hurting people, hurt people.” Well, it’s true. It’s dangerous to move close to someone who is hurting. And it’s especially dangerous to put two hurting people together. It’s why most of us live disconnected lives, as Thoreau described, “of quiet desperation.” But to be hidden in Christ means that when we move closer, it is really Jesus who is moving closer, with the full work of His death and resurrection. This is a safe place.
“How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues.”
” Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Aside from realizing that we are in hiding, one of the first steps to becoming hidden is to forgive whoever sent us into hiding in the first place. And the lists are often long and somewhere on that list we are sure to find our own names.
I have a cute and true story about forgiveness that I like to call The Soap in the Dough
One day Micah had come in from work and, as is his daily routine, he went straight to the kitchen sink to wash his hands.
Earlier in the day, I had begun the process of making our bread for the week, as is my weekly routine, and the delicate ball of dough was now in the process of rising – IN THE KITCHEN SINK. Without a thought, he pumped the pumpkin spice soap into his hands, washed, rinsed, and walked away. I could hear the precious voice of my four year old son, Canon Joel, “Mommy, there is soap in your bread bowl!” But I was distracted and it wasn’t until the fourth exclamation from him that I leapt out of my chair and ran to the sink. There sat my dough covered in soapy bubbles. I felt all the initial emotion of human reaction – frustration, disappointment, “How could he be so oblivious?” I’m sure I let out an aggravated growl and a desperate, “NO!” But after about 5 seconds of unchecked reaction, I felt the quiet Holy Spirit pulling me, centering me. “Are you really going to lose your temper over this?”
Thankfully, I had been spending time with Him all throughout the day or I might not have even considered the futility of becoming furious over a ruined bowl of dough. As I took a moment to pause and discipline my emotions, the precious voice of Canon Joel came again, “Mommy, I forgive daddy for getting soap in the bowl. Do you forgive Daddy?” I just had to laugh a little. “Yes, baby. I forgive Daddy.”
And it was finished. For me, at least.
But following the incident, sweet Canon Joel felt the need to remind his Daddy at least once a week that, “Daddy, do you remember when you got soap on the dough? I forgive you for that.” This continued for a couple of weeks and it became something that I could really laugh over as I watched Micah reluctantly and graciously receive forgiveness for his sin of ruining the dough. Eventually, we did take the amazing opportunity to explain to Canon that forgiveness is meant to be followed `with something that the most seasoned believer can still struggle with: forgetting.
I know, I just lost some of you. There is the popular saying, “Forgive, but don’t forget.” But let’s just look at the actual meaning of the word forget:
Forget – from the old English “forgietan”- “lose the power of recalling to the mind…. In a physical sense, To lose one’s grip on.
Can somebody say, Let. It. Go.
You see, the soap in the bowl anecdote is cute. But it’s not cute if every time I go to make bread, I’m intentionally recalling that one time that Micah thoughtlessly washed his hands over the bowl.
What’s your soap in the bowl? Who is it that you look at and all you can see is the last time they hurt you and so you can not even interact with them on the level that God is calling you to because you are holding on to something? You will not be a unique expression of Christ to each other when all you see is someone who might hurt you – again. Send you into hiding – again. We have to intentionally take every thought captive. And in taking those thoughts captive, we release who or whatever has hurt us to Christ. Yes, we may remember the hurts but we can choose to let them go. We can choose to relinquish the power of recalling them to our minds and consecrate, even our memories to Jesus. What are we protecting? Can I just carry the bread analogy a little further, and say, We are protecting our bread? And can you just stay with me on this for a moment while we go over to the Lord’s prayer where we say, “Give us THIS day our daily bread.”
What are we saying there? He gives us what we need for each day. His grace is sufficient FOR EACH DAY. For whatever we need. We have enough – when we are in Him. Remember, He IS the bread of life. (John 6:35)
We have to receive healing so that hurts no longer send us into hiding.
What I desire is simply to be hidden and healed. I hope that one day, hurt will not be a part of the process. But I have learned that the moment I feel hurt by a friend, by family, by my husband (Let’s face it – it’s those closest to us that can land the hardest blows) – I’ve learned to immediately turn that thing over and get hidden in Christ.
Are you hiding? He is seeking.
You are not forgotten.
It’s a simple prayer but it will start you on a journey toward being hidden and healed:
Jesus. I open my heart to you to receive the healing I need in order to be hidden in you and bring others out of hiding. Show me the things that I need to let go of – the people that I need to forgive. Help me to let go of hurt and hold on to you. Hide me in you and equip me to bring you Jesus, in every situation. Amen.