One of my favorite games to play during childhood was hide n’ seek! I wasn’t very imaginative in securing secret spaces, but until I was found, I felt safe. I felt powerful. I appreciated the silence. Sometimes, the seeker would pass right by me. Occasionally, the seeker would ignore me, opting instead to place her/his effort on locating the person who talked the most trash. Either way, as I grew up, I learned to accept the times whereby I went seemingly unnoticed. Yet, people will make you believe differently. This is particularly true in the age of social media and “reality” as we’ve come to know it. If there is no evidence in a timeline, it’s likened to a tree falling in the forest. Does it really happen if there’s no photo or 140 characters or less to post about it? The Jesus that we serve was never about drawing attention to himself, but instead to the Father. And as we strive to be more like Christ, we must follow the example he set, and consider our actions and how they point to God. Yet, in order for this to occur, we must be prepared for what accompanies such existence, and that may require something that we may not enjoy as much as we did when we were small, and that’s been exiled to hiding.
Not a far too distant cousin of hide n seek was being reprimanded to punishment. I only recall getting about one or two “whippins” as a child. Moreover, my mother’s looks were prophetic enough to foretell the consequences if I didn’t cease from whatever I was doing. However, as I aged (and her as well), my punishment altered to being mandated to remain in the house, or revoking original permission to go to a party with my friends. My mother fully understood that I would rather take a licking in order to keep ticking with my girls. Yet, the more profound lessons were garnered from being hidden and relegated to the inside. It was a time of retrospect, appreciation for what I previously had access to, as well as building of temperament to ensure that I wouldn’t repeat actions that resulted in a return to that place of isolation. I learned self-control, I learned patience, and I learned wisdom. Further, I wasn’t required to explain to anyone my reasoning as to why I wasn’t visible. And the more content I demonstrated myself to be, the more my mother would witness my “lesson learned” and sometimes, reduce my sentence.
Do you feel as though you’ve done something and are being punished? Do you have dreams that seemingly go unnoticed, while those around you are thriving and even flourishing with pseudo proclamations of first acknowledging, “God, who’s the head of “their” life?” Might you feel like giving a side eye to the God who has the power to bring you out, and yet elects not to? Well, as its been said, “If you’ve answered yes to one of the aforementioned questions, you might be experiencing the symptoms of being hidden.” Let’s check the label: 1) You have a desire to bless the kingdom of God, but you must be the first partaker (II Timothy 2:6); 2) You are being shaped into whom God needs you to become (Philippians 2:13); 3) You will not be released until God is finished (Philippians 1:6); 4) We are being worked by God’s hand (Isaiah 64:8); and 5) God has to work on our temperament (1 Samuel 16:23).
Colossians 3:3 reminds us that, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” And the scripture before it portrays the essence of being hidden in that it reads, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” As we are being hidden, God has not forgotten us, but instead is working on us. As we seek to do his work and will in the earth, we must be prepared. When we dwell in the shadow of the Almighty, we will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1), rest that will be greatly appreciated when our season of being hidden has passed. Even as we are being hidden, our beauty while not being personally acknowledged, is being affirmed and admired by God. We are growing stronger and being cultivated to endure much more than what is visible by the naked eye.
The photo that accompanies this blog is from my front yard. As the flowers emerged this spring, bigger than the nearly seven years at this home, I noticed the flowers that grew within the tree planted in the yard. I couldn’t believe how they grew being covered, being hidden. They are richer in color, they don’t appear distressed and they remain just as vital now as weeks ago when they appeared. The flowers in the yard that are not tangled within the tree are beginning to wither and look as though they are prepared to take their rest. Yet the ones in the tree look vibrant, well rested and healthy.
As opposed to battling and questioning God in times of what we perceive as inactivity, let us rejoice that he loves us so much that he desires for us, when ready, to put forth our very best, which ultimately gets him the greatest glory! Let us not be frustrated as we are told, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10). We don’t need to profess what and how God is working, we just must know that He is! If and when people question, simply defer to the inquiry and the person to God. Each person’s season of being hidden is invisible to the general public, and that is okay. What we are blessed to see is the fruit of hiddenness, the beauty, if you will. In due season you will (fill in the blank) and thank God!