photo by ivan prole
the image is clear. the humor screams as the small child covers their eyes and says, “you can’t see me.” no matter how you try to explain the reality that covering your own eyes does not make you invisible, the small one remains unconvinced. after all, if they can’t see you, then you can’t see them either.
this rings true in our own lives, whether we admit it or not. whether in the spiritual or physical realm, we like to think that what we think and say and do is done in a vacuum with blackout curtains.
i work in an apartment complex. i also live there. my office is in a different building than my home, so it is easy for me to mentally separate the two “worlds.” yes, the commute is 30 seconds by foot, but the mental shift from home to work is clear in my own head. until…
i spent a saturday afternoon planting flowers on my back patio. i imagined the evenings sitting on the patio with a book and a beverage, maybe even my laptop, reading, writing, and relaxing. when i came to work on monday one of my staff mentioned that she liked the flowers i planted over the weekend. suddenly, the home/work separation was shattered. flashing through my head was the half-bag of potting soil i left out on the porch, the dirt i had spilled and yet to sweep up, and whether or not i watered the plants enough to live through the first week. my competence at work was now tied to my nearly-total incompetence at keeping plant-life alive and healthy.
i was hiding in plain sight. and the mere mention of the flowers threw me.
we do this. we think that the thing we idolize is a secret. or the thing we are struggling with is hidden from others. we think that if we can just hide it a little longer, nobody will ever know it is there. just one more day–one more day of throwing our hands over our eyes and crying out “you can’t see me.” we are deluding ourselves.
“For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” –Romans 1:25
what are you idolizing? is it social acceptance? belonging? wealth? respect of men? control?
i tell you these things: 1) it is fruitless, and 2) we can all see it. you may dress it up, put on a good show, or even throw other distractions in the way to temporarily shift the focus. but the truth is this: you are actually hiding very little. that bitterness you hold for that person who did that thing? we can see it. that cherishing you hold for the acceptance of men, women, children, leaders? yep, we can see that too. the pursuit for money that you think is painted over all pretty is starkly clear to those around you. and though we know we cannot hide things from God, we don’t like to admit that we want to hide things from others.
the following scripture is often hacked into two different verses. both are great–but by hacking them apart, we miss the depth of the love and protection of God. so please, read to the final period.
“But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known…Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” –Luke 12:2, 6-7
conviction AND love, all in the same breath. we are good at convicting. we rarely pair it with the love Jesus longs to bring in the conviction. those words in Luke are from Christ Himself. Yes, it will all be revealed. But do not fear–He loves you. Unearth them yourself and you will find a vast storehouse of love already surrounding you in the process.
and as you deal with your own stuff, others will see that it isn’t so frightening. your honesty will encourage others’ honesty. and with mutual honesty, there is support, trust, and fellowship. as we stop hiding from each other, we get an earthly glimpse of the intense intimacy of the Father who created each of us exactly how we are:
“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thoughts from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to the depths, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, ‘surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.
For you formed my inward parts; you wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You…
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there by any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” –Psalm 139:1-18, 23-24