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Posts Tagged ‘hiding’

Psalm 143 is filled with urgency and no less in these two verses:

hidingplaceLet the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,

    for I hide myself in you. [Psalm 143:8-9 NIV 2011]

I don’t know this kind of urgency very often. From day to day, I live a life of relative ease. There might be emotional upheavals and drama (after all, I have two young adults still living at home with us), but none of these cause me to burrow into the hiding place of God. I do not live in a foxhole as many people do throughout the world today. Instead, for all I know, I may be luxuriating in pot of water on the stove, getting warmer and warmer, but not realizing I am actually dying.

Well, we all are. From day to day, closer each day to some inevitable transformative moment that will take us out of our bodies in an instant or on a journey of pain and disease, a slower but nonetheless equally lethal end. This is part of living, the dying.

There have been several deaths around me of late: husbands of friends, old friends, passing acquaintances, relatives of colleagues, and on and on the list seems to get longer each year. We have a patron who comes into the library every week to look at the local newspaper for one thing only, to check the obituaries. There is always someone she knows, she has lived in this same community all of her life.

Is the shadow of death the only real urgency in a life? Or, is that merely self-serving to the end?

Or, are we to live with empathy for others in their crisis?

No one can sustain the stress of true crisis for an extended time. The body cannot generate enough adrenalin. I could help by if I knew how to envelop this person in need with the love of God, with the touch of authentic human, with the promise of rest. But then, I must really know what it means to shelter in God before I can bring someone else into the hiding place.

Back in my childhood, I was never very good at playing hide and seek. Either my hiding place was too good (and no one could find me so I would come out – who wants to be alone in a hiding place?) or the spot was too easy and I was found right away. Often, I would keep peeking out just to see what was going on around me. Just in case. And of course, this would be another way I would be pulled free from safety.

And there’s the problem, the human tendency to peek. To hide in God works better as a permanent solution, not just in a state of emergency. If I could stay in the hiding place of God, within the Spirit of Christ, my view of the world would be through a completely different lens. I would see more clearly; I would recognize needs in others; I could envelope and invite them in, for the place is large and plentiful. The hiding place of God knows no limits, nor does it include chains. It’s a choice to remain, just as it is a choice to enter.

So, does the hiding place mean I won’t experience urgency and fear and pain? On the contrary, those moments will still happen, I’m sure of it. The difference is in walking out trauma with an ongoing confidence in the Presence: “We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan” [Romans 8:38, The Voice].

And remaining “in” God. No peeking.

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What is the Word? Some say it is the Christ Himself, some say it is the “whole of divine revelation” and some say it is the Gospel message. There is agreement however, that this Word is an instrument of disclosure and exposure.

Hebrews 4:12a, 13
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, . . . Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

My first image is that of Adam and Eve who are the first to experience the penetrating power of “the Word.” Not long after the eating of the notorious “apple,” God comes seeking them in the garden, calling out even, “Where are you?” They hide. We are still trying to hide today.

People smile at the ludicrous behavior of Adam and Eve, after all, how can they expect to hide from their all-knowing, all-seeing God? And yet, we believe we can cover up our own sins, thoughts, and actions. We put fig leafs on our brains and our hearts.

I think God knows all along what is happening within. The real problem is getting Human to face the truth of ourselves.

People have asked me why we should bother to pray if God knows everything and I maintain that prayer is really about our own discoveries. What is important? What is a hindrance? Where are we kidding ourselves? What is the desire of the heart?

Sometimes, God uses the Christ through the Holy Spirit to cut through the bull crap with a sword — the sword of truth. Like the “refining fire” that burns up the dross of our hearts, so the sword must sometimes cut away the dead stuff that prevents us from growing and healing. Like irrigating an infected the wound, it may hurt in the process, but the repair will move more swiftly later on.

Lord, I embrace your Word and your Sword.

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Today I am being asked to choose, consciously, to adapt my behavior for the sake of another. And that, not for just any “other,” but for a “sister/brother,” someone who shares my faith walk, who is in koinonia (community) with me. Hmmmm.

Romans 14:14b-15a
. . . But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. If your brother is distressed because of what you eat [by what you are doing], you are no longer acting in love. . . .

This challenges me because I have been working on authenticity so much lately. Historically, I have not believed I could “be my true self” around some my church friends. I perceive myself as slightly different from them, a little off-beat. I know I enjoy activities that some would consider inappropriate in their eyes (certain books & movies for instance). I have political points of view that may very well be quite different from their own.

I have resented this “duality” and I have wanted to “come out” (and no, I’m not saying I’m gay), to my church family. I just want to be real… authentic and transparent.

So, what do these passages from Romans tell me to consider?

Here’s what I think it has to be about for me: it’s a difference in attitude. The “hiding” of my true self before was based on assumptions. And yet, I don’t really know if what I do, think, or read is a stumbling block for someone else. I have rarely opened myself up to that degree. And so, I still think I need to continue this path of onion peeling. However, if my choices cause someone else distress, then I can consciously choose not to participate in these activities or conversations for the sake of the other.

Again, the difference is in the conscious choice for the sake of the other.

I need to think about this more. But for today, I just want to be more mindful of the reasons behind my behaviors, the roots. Assumptions are dangerous for everyone involved. But loving choices can be healing.

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