Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hide or seek?

What about life makes you feel like hiding? Is it consistent pressure, unrelenting demand? Is it fear?

I'm convinced that many of us live perfecting the art of hiding. As John Ortberg termed it, we become satisfied with living out a shadow mission, a second-best-settling for our life's purpose. I cannot tell you how many things fear has robbed me of in life. The fear of what could happen or what someone else might think or what I might be incapable of, have all kept me paralyzed at different times.

We may think that we can insulate our lives from pain and failure, and all of the other things we hide from (even success). The truth is God knows where we are all along. There is no hiding from His loving presence.

I was struck by this afresh as I read in 1 Samuel 10, where Saul was to be publicly anointed as Israel's first king. Saul had previously met with Samuel and knew that he was to be God's chosen man for this task. Yet, when it came time for the public anointing, verse 21 said he was not to be found. When they couldn't find him, they asked God where His man was at. God said, "He has hidden himself among the baggage."

I both chuckled and cringed when I read that. I laughed because it seems ridiculous to hide from a sovereign God in a pile of suitcases. I cringed because I have tried to hide among the baggage too. More times than I would like to admit. I have hidden behind my past, or my inability, or my fear of failure, or any other number of excuses - ducking out on callings I know God has issued to me.

No matter how you or I seek to insulate our lives from pain, difficulty, rejection, or uncertainty, there is no good to come of hiding. Hiding robs us of seeing God at work in us and through us. It robs us of learning to walk in deeper faith and abiding trust, because hiding demonstrates that we really don't trust God's sovereignty at all. We would rather hide out among our baggage - our past, our inadequacy, our present circumstances, than to step out and take a risk by faith. We would rather put all of our effort (and it takes effort and planning and expense) into hiding than we would to put it into the action of living faith.

Jesus came to set us free from every entaglement this world can offer. Sin, our past, our future, our present, our cirucmstances - anything we face cannot separate us from God's love. We may think we are hiding, but God knows right where we are. Because He sent Jesus, we are no longer slaves to fear. It is not about what we are able to do. It is about His ability to do in and through us the works He prepared in advance for us to do.

So instead of hiding, we can step out to meet God at the point of His call. Is He calling you to forgive? Is He calling you to lead? Is He calling you to love? Is He calling you to something you've been hiding from? Then, step out! As Scripture encourages, Do not throw away your confidence in God (Hebrews 10:35). Instead, move forward in faith.

What baggage are you hiding out in today? Stop hiding and start seeking!


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