The Flip-Side to Hiddenness

I just came back from a week of much needed rest and adventure in Scotland, and wow.  Was it the best week of my life so far?  Probably.  Very much so.  Yes.  My time there with my friends got me thinking even more about the topic of Hiddenness, and I felt the Lord wanted to take me a little deeper into it (P.S. If you haven’t read my other blog on Hiddenness, now is good of a time as any to do so. :)).

 

Once we get the revelation that we’ll always feel hidden to the world, but that we are actually seen by the Creator of the Universe, it doesn’t stop there.  Knowing that we are seen by God is so assuring, so comforting, and so empowering, but I just can’t bring myself to believe that God would want me, or any of us, to each be an island alone with Him, even if no one else can truly satisfy our need to be understood.

 

So, what is our purpose?

 

I love what an old Pastor of mine used to say: the only reason why Jesus didn’t take us to Heaven immediately when we accepted Him (whenever we realized that He saved us and sees us), is because He wanted us to share Him with the world.  It’s so simple, and yet so profound if you really think about it.  Now that I realize that I can’t be satisfied by being seen, valued, and acknowledged by others, but find all of that fulfillment in God, I know that I can go to Him with everything, no matter what I feel.  However, my eyes have also now been opened to the fact that so many other people struggle with these feelings without any safe place at all.  The feeling of being hidden.  Misunderstood.  Unloved.  They don’t know yet that there is a God who sees them, knows them, and loves them.

 

So, what can I do?

 

My purpose, my responsibility, my job description is to see those who don’t feel seen.  I, who once felt so hidden (and still can to a certain extent as no one understands me the way the Lord does), am now in a place where I can actually recognize and see people who struggle with those very same feelings of hiddenness, and love on them there.  That is why we can’t just stay isolated in our personal relationship with God, no matter how blessed and wonderful it is.  He longs for us to reach out and minister to others, who have not yet come to that place.

 

I love how Jesus revealed to me that He knew more than me what hiddenness feels like.  He is God, and yet He lived as a man.  No one understood the path that He had to take, and the life that He chose to live.  Even His own brother did not believe in Him while He was alive!  He must have suffered with feeling lonely among the people in the world, but He did not suffer for long, because He knew His Father was with Him.  🙂  He also lived to serve others.  He truly saw who they were, and the potential they held, and He loved them to it.  He became a safe place for those who felt hidden, and He is our example.  He is the One who taught Paul, who wrote on and on (I’m reading all of his letters in the New Testament in order right now) to the churches that he established and started, sometimes with tears and sadness, and sometimes with the greatest joy and gladness.  He was teaching, and teaching, and teaching, and pouring out, and pouring out, and pouring out.  He wasn’t even married, which is a relationship in this world that, if done God’s way, can be such a safe space of encouragement and partnership in love, and not to mention, he suffered with great attacks and obstacles by himself.  I can imagine that there were times when he struggled deeply with feeling hidden and misunderstood.

 

You know what I believe he did in those times though?  He surrendered his right to be known to this world, began to know and be known by God, and helped others to come to this revelation as well.  This is why his one goal in life, his one mission and joy, was to spur others on in recognizing that they are seen by the Lord – because he had discovered this so much for himself.  This is why he poured his heart and soul into the Church and its people everywhere he went.  This is why he prayed for people in the streets and taught in the synagogues.  This is why he did not stop when he was hit with so much suffering and pain.  First, he was truly satisfied in the Lord, and second, he realized that there was more to his life than just him.  He followed Jesus’ example.

 

If you realize that you feel hidden, and just stay feeling way, what does that accomplish?  Nothing but turning you into an emotional sap who always feels sorry for yourself and is no good to anybody – that’s what.  We’ve got to move past the highs and lows of our emotions and see our lives the way that God sees them.  Even when you suffer with something that’s painful, when you see it the way that God does, He doesn’t ignore that it is painful, but He somehow makes it bearable – giving you hope, courage, and strength to make it through even what once seemed impossible.

 

So, what is the flip-side to hiddenness?

 

It’s knowing that you are not the only one who feels the way you feel.  It’s deciding to pour your heart out before the Lord, and to receive the healing that He longs and loves to give, but it’s also deciding not to be an island there.  Our lives mean so much more than for us to just satisfy our physical and emotional needs and then let them be over.  We are first called to be satisfied in the Lord and make Him our safe place, and second, we are called to become a safe place to others who don’t know Him yet.  The flip-side to hiddenness is that you are not alone in it.  Everyone is looking to be seen and heard and loved.

 

Why not let YOUR eyes that notice, YOUR ears that listen, and YOUR heart that has compassion show them the way through Jesus to the One true God who is able to give them everything they’re looking for?

 

Blog Pic: Loch Lomond at Luss Village in Scotland

Hiddenness

I typically like to play worship music as I’m working or doing mindless things for the sole purpose of basically forcing my mind to wander back to the Lord – what He’s saying and what He’s doing.  I love when He speaks to my heart when I’m not even expecting it.  This happened two nights ago.  A song was playing in the background and I wasn’t really paying attention, until I heard someone on the recording encourage the audience to try to recognize what they were feeling in God’s Presence, just so they could be more aware of how He was meeting with them in that moment.  My ear was immediately tuned in, so I asked the Lord to help me understand what I feel when I’m in His Presence.  Not a second passed by when I heard Him say:

 

“You feel seen.”

 

Seen…to be seen.  What does that mean?  Here are some of my favorite definitions from Merriam Webster:

 

  • to perceive by the eye :  to perceive or detect as if by sight
  • to have experience of :  to come to know :  discover
  • to form a mental picture of :  visualize :  to perceive the meaning or importance of :  understand :  to be aware of :  recognize :  to imagine as a possibility
  • examine, watch :  read
  • to take care of :  provide for :  to make sure, see that order is kept
  • to regard as
  • to call on :  visit (1) :  to keep company with, especially in courtship (2) :  to grant an interview to
  • to give or pay attention

 

I realized in that moment with perfect clarity that when I am in God’s Presence, when I am worshiping Him, with my eyes fixed on Him, I somehow feel and sense His eyes on me as well.  That’s what it’s like to worship the God of the Universe.  He is so close and tangible, and I know His loving eyes and His smile are on me.  There is nothing like it.  I am seen all the time everywhere I go by other people, but to be seen and to be known and understood, without honestly even saying words, now that is something completely different altogether.  Worship is not about me, but I cannot deny that worshiping Jesus affects everything about who I am.

 

To explain how much this revelation means to me, let me just say that I feel I’m in a season right now of hiddenness, not being able to be fully seen as I want to be.  I was kind of feeling sorry for myself and complaining about it to the Lord, wondering when it would be over, when He showed me that I’ve actually felt that way for a while…my entire life.  When something has been a part of your experience for as long as you can remember, it may not simply be a season.  The Lord may be teaching you something deeper – a lesson about who He is, and what you’re made for.  A lesson that will last a lifetime…

 

I was made to be known and understood.  I have always desired it, and I know that it is at the core of every human being’s heart.  This is why relationships are so pushed and pressed in our culture (and churches) today.  They are made to look like the be-all, end-all of successful, happy living, and being known.  It is not wrong, but…it’s not enough.  No one can satisfy you because no one can fully understand you.  It’s hard to admit, but no matter how many years you spend with a person, even someone that you truly love and study and admire, you will never be able to completely read their minds, and they will never be able to completely read yours.  This desire to be seen and known is not a desire that is able to be fulfilled on this earth, solely with earthly resources and relationships.  It’s much bigger than that.

 

So, what is the Lord speaking to me, and possibly to you too?

 

I am not only in a season of hiddenness – that’s actually the place where I live.  In this world, no human can ever fully understand us the way we all want to be understood.  We can grow and increase our communication styles, try to express ourselves as clearly as we possibly can, and we can still not fully get across what we’re trying to say.  Therefore, why do we desire that so much?  It has to be because that is available to us.  Because that is who God is for us.  He sees us and He knows and understands us.  Hiddenness is not a curse.  It is a gift and reminder that no one sees us the way the Lord does.

 

Whether I am in a crowded room or by myself, and whether or not I am feeling loved or understood or I am looking to be – He is there.  He wants to show me that He is the only One who can truly satisfy my soul.  Even years down the road, when I have been blessed with a family of my own, the deepest part of who I am will still desire to be known and loved and understood by the God who sees me.  A husband can’t satisfy that, children can’t satisfy that, and friends can’t satisfy that.  I have the Answer today though.  It’s Him.  In every season, He sees me and He loves me.  He searches me and knows me.  He searches out my path.  He knows when I sit and when I rise.  He perceives my thoughts from afar.  He is my Father, His eyes are on me, and nothing can separate me from His love.

 

I’m also learning that God LOVES hidden things: hidden beauty, hidden treasure, hidden revelation.  I did a little search in my Bible of all of the verses that contain the word hidden.  This is what I found:

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” – Proverbs 25:2

“And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness–secret riches.  I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.” – Isaiah 45:3

“For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:3

“But let (your beauty) be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.” – 1 Peter 3:4

 

It is His great pleasure to hide me; to conceal me in His Presence.  There are things that only He and I can share.  He absolutely loves for His children to go into their rooms and shut their door to meet and speak with Him alone.  Hiddenness is not a hindrance to real relationship.  Being hidden in the Lord is the most real relationship there is.  There’s something precious in Him allowing us to being hidden in order for us to grow in Him even more, because when I feel the most hidden, I am actually seen.

 

Some more verses about the beauty of hiddenness:

“But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:6

“His glory covered the heavens and the earth was full of His praise.  And His brightness was like the sunlight; rays streamed from His hand, and there [in the sunlike splendor] was the hiding place of His power.” – Habakkuk 3:3-4

“At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.  Yes, Father, for this is what You were pleased to do.” – Matthew 11:25

“And great and important and weighty, we confess, is the hidden truth (the mystic secret) of godliness. He [God] was made visible in human flesh, justified and vindicated in the [Holy] Spirit, was seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, [and] taken up in glory.” – 1 Timothy 3:16

  • Just want to pause here to say: Who understood hiddenness more than Jesus Himself? Fully God, fully man, more often than not misunderstood by the people that He loved – YET, He kept His consolation in the Father because He knew He always had His eyes on Him.  He is our Teacher and our Model, and He understands everything that we feel and go through.

“He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches). To him who overcomes (conquers), I will give to eat of the manna that is hidden, and I will give him a white stone with a new name engraved on the stone, which no one knows or understands except he who receives it.” – Revelation 2:17

“So do not make any hasty or premature judgments before the time when the Lord comes [again], for He will both bring to light the secret things that are [now hidden] in darkness and disclose and expose the [secret] aims (motives and purposes) of hearts.  Then every man will receive his [due] commendation from God.” – 1 Corinthians 4:5

You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.” – Psalm 119:114

“How abundant are the good things that You have stored up for those who fear You,
that You bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in You.  In the shelter of Your presence You hide them from all human intrigues; You keep them safe in Your dwelling from accusing tongues.” – Psalm 31:19-20

 

And this one got me.  Check this out:

You are my hiding place;
You will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with My loving eye on you.

– Psalm 32:7-8

 

What is sad about hiddenness if it brings me into greater revelation of the One who sees me?  Let me stay hidden forever before I miss His gaze

 

So, I make this my prayer:

Keep me as the apple of Your eye;

hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”

– Psalm 17:8

“So she called the name of the Lord Who spoke to her, You are a God of seeing, for she said, Have I [not] even here [in the wilderness] looked upon Him Who sees me [and lived]?  Or have I here also seen [the future purposes or designs of] Him Who sees me?  Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi [A well to the Living One Who sees me]…”

– Genesis 16:13-14

 

Blog Pic: New Smyrna Beach in Florida