“Hidden Places” – Ever feel forgotten? Passed over? What about downright rejected or abandoned? Do you ever feel unheard or unseen? I’ve come to learn that there are seasons in life when we will feel this way, because people won’t always appreciate you or believe with you or stand by you. Sometimes people won’t walk a rough road with you or give you grace in a time when you really need it. It may be in the times of a new move, a new baby, a new transition, a tough illness, a tough loss, or for any tough reason. We were once surrounded by so many people just moments ago, yet one day we open our eyes and no one else is there. We realize we are climbing a mountain-alone. And it’s hard. It “takes a village” we are told, and the village people have left the building. This scenario can quickly manifest into loneliness, offense, and despair for not only the faint at heart, but also surprisingly for those with faith in heart.
I can boldly speak about this, even as a Jesus girl and only because I am a Jesus girl, because I have had a lot of lonely, desperate moments in my life. In the beginning it was a father that abandoned me, then rejection in relationships over the years, which made postpartum depression even harder when I was thrust into motherhood soon after our marriage had just begun. Then, just when all felt right, came the confusing seasons between friends and family and churches and careers that caused offense or hurt or a cold heart. This seemingly impossible process to balance tends to repeat itself; so when we feel it in our teens, we should be warned it’ll come in our 20s. And yes, again, I am seeing it tip the scales even in my 30s, I must confess.
But what is different this time around, and what I want to share, is that this time I have turned straight to my Heavenly Father, the one who never abandons and always sees and listens. Perhaps it was out of desperation or my deliriousness from too tight of jeggings but I just wasn’t going to try to figure it out myself this time. It was only through my frustrated prayers when I heard the Lord whisper to me… “You are not forgotten. You are not alone. You are not rejected or abandoned or unappreciated.” He told me in the midst of my own anxious tears and restless mind … “you are hidden.”
Hidden? Like a scar, bad debt, mess, or a failure? Hmm. Just when I thought this most certainly had to be a bad thing, He took me on a vision trip (kinda like a mission trip but without the ants & malaria) and He reminded me of the depths of the ocean. The ocean-so deep and so wide-with so much not seen or heard or appreciated; but because so, so magnificent. Under all those crashing waves and the storm above, lies the coral reef and abundant sea life deep below. Another world. Miraculous. All hidden.
In His word, the Lord says “He will cover you with his feathers, and under His wings you can hide. His truth will be your shield and protection.” Psalm 91. That means we can run TO HIM to hide anytime we need rescuing from the waves and chaos crashing around us. But what we must learn today is that He will also run TO US, and hide us, maybe when we don’t even realize we need shielding or protecting. He will take us deeper, further below into uncharted waters. Because we, too, are His magnificent, miraculous creation, and He knows what we need. We have much to explore-deep and wide-about ourselves and Him, and until we are hidden from everything and everyone else, we won’t see what He wants us to see.
What we can take from this verse is an understanding that in these “hidden seasons” of our life, when in the desert, when walking in wilderness – when we are away from people, work, or a busy life, when we feel restless, disjointed, and not feeling the love so much from others – is that we are actually being covered by Him, under His wings, and we are being protected and prepared for something, for someone, for some thing.
Yes, these moments in hidden wilderness places can be, and most often are, ordained by Him! Why? Because He wants our full attention, our full worship and praise. The Lord will remove people, take away titles, and put a hold on options when and where needed to help us grow and to put us into the position He has for us. He will protect our heart from toxic people, our wallet from wrongdoing, our soul from destruction, and our hands from idleness or even idol-ness. The world and flesh will say we are missing out on things, that we are lazy, lonely, deprived or not doing enough or being enough or we are not good enough. The world will say that we have all this pent up potential that is being wasted. But I can’t find it in scripture anywhere where it says “you have so much hidden potential”!
What I DO see is that we were created in a secret place (Psalm 139), that He calls us to pray in secret, (Matt 6:6), that we should give in secret (Matt 6:4), and that we have the hidden power of Him inside of us working in us (Eph 3:20). We read our bible stories of people alone at the well, alone in the den, alone in jail, alone in a cave, facing a giant alone, and even read of Jesus alone many times – all places where breakthrough happened. Why then are we so upset that the Lord will take us into secret places and hidden seasons, alone?
Instead of us being upset over “hidden potential” to be a good friend, good wife, good mother, good leader, etc… we need to begin to believe our God-given “hidden power” is being protected. Maybe this is a preparation for us to be used to bring Him glory in all those ways.
It’s been in these quite seasons where I can look back and say I was tucked away from noise or drama or busyness before big breakthroughs. I’m realizing now I was being hidden, my heart was being prepared to step into new seasons in my own life such as right before having a 4th child, starting a business, working in ministry, or being a supportive wife just when he needed it most. Again, today I sit with eyes open and heart awaiting the next chapter, but I refuse to call it a time of loneliness or angst. Instead I see it as climbing this mountain in the wilderness with an audience of one. Despite what the world may say, I am here to say the Holy Spirit is all we need to climb what is before us. Can you hear Holy Spirit saying “What God has for you on that mountain top, in that desert, isn’t for anyone else but you! That’s why you must go with just Me!”
If everyone else who is in these still, quiet seasons could just pray for each other and look over and wink at each other like “I’ll see you on the other side” then it may just be enough encouragement, perhaps, to keep us all going.
Rest assured. It’s in these hidden places we find our strength, our joy, our calling, our rest, and it is where we meet the Lord where He is at. We can be hidden without being in darkness! We can be hidden with the fullness of joy and light all around us!
The great battle in learning to love our soaking season, hidden places means overcoming this problem of our idle and wandering thoughts that we must be more or have more or see more. How? We begin to learn to be content in the rest of the shelter of His wings. We say “no” more and give our best “yes” to what should truly be a yes. We strive to discipline our heart, mind, and spirit to embrace the hidden seasons by not running from them and instead we concentrate on willful, intentional growth through prayer and worship. And with that, we need to know, that we know, that we know in this season…
The Lord doesn’t have me hidden to keep me FROM things, He has me hidden to protect and prepare me FOR things.
:: Wink. Wink. ::