Sometimes I want to hide from the world. To hide from the expectations and daily demands of my life.
Sometimes I do. I stay in bed. I avoid contact with people. I choose to remain by myself in breaks at work rather than face others and pretend that I am “fine”.
How many people ask you how you are each day, but how many of them really want to know how you are? The typical response of “fine thanks” can save you from a meaningful conversation. It can save you from opening up to someone who may actually care. It can save you from being vulnerable.
But in reality, you cannot hide forever… and you can never hide from God.
In the garden of Eden, Adam an Eve hid themselves in shame after falling into sin. Genesis 3:8 (NKJV) states,
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Sin affects us all.
Satan is always ready and waiting to lure us away from our calling, and the truth is, part of us wants to be. Our innate desire towards selfish satisfaction often leads us to focus on the apparent needs of ourselves, above those of others.
We are too busy.
We are too tired.
We are too burdened.
“God doesn’t require us to succeed. He only requires that you try.”
– Mother Teresa.
Sometimes it’s all we can do to get out of bed in the morning and move forward despite our fears. Sometimes it’s all we can do to reluctantly drag on the armour of God because it is so heavy. But we forget, it needs to be, if it is going to protect us from Satan’s arrows. And Satan’s arrows come in all forms.
I recently spoke to a friend who had traveled to Uganda for a mission trip. She said how she had initially scoffed at the reality of curses and charms until those with her made her realise how serious spiritual warfare was in that place. Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV) reminds us,
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
In places like Uganda, those principalities and powers take the form of a spiritual realm which we can barely begin to understand. For us, inside our first world living, the principalities and powers impacting us look very different. In fact, they are sometimes so subtle we barely give them credit for what they are. And that is where Satan has us. If we believe it is normal to suffer ruthless anxiety and depression then we forget we were not created to be that way. Sin entered our world and we fell hard. If we believe it is normal to absorb ourselves in the world without seeking Christ first, then we are oblivious to the powers of darkness that are ruling in our life. If we focus purely on our own needs and forget to love others in the process, then we have fallen away from Christ’s calling for our lives.
Yet all of these habits and more, are so easy for us to fall into. We hardly see our foot slip until it is too late.
I have been there. I have suffered with depression. I have battled anxiety. I have struggled to shift my focus from my needs to the needs of others. Yet… there is always a way out. There is always a hand outstretched to pull us out of our pits of self-pity and weakness. The light of Jesus, our great Shepherd, will always lead us home.
Psalm 23 (NKJV) begins,
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
I shall not want.
What is it that you want that is leading you further away from God?
What is that you want that makes you want to hide your face from him?
The thing is, even when we try to hide, we are never really hidden.
God has created us in His image to shine His light and colour to the world. We are all created uniquely, with individual fingerprints and we have the chance to touch the souls of others in an extraordinary way. His plan for our lives relies on our obedience to His will. Do we have the strength each morning to get up, and show up, to see what He will do?
If we make the choice to let the darkness win, then we are potentially missing an opportunity to share God’s love with someone who desperately needs it, someone who is fighting that very day with their own fear or anxiety. We have the chance to make a difference. We, who have overcome the darkness. We, who have known his comfort.
In my experience, God has often brought comfort through the sense of His presence in nature. I have had countless types of wild birds come near to me when I have felt lost in the darkness. Their company reminds me of His creation. Their existence reminds me of His wonderful works. Their appearance at a vulnerable point in my life makes me pause to count my blessings.
2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT) states,
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
Tomorrow, or the next day, when you feel you cannot face the demands of the day, remember this verse and trust in the one who stands beside you, ready to carry you through the storm. He will never leave you, nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6, Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:5, 1 Chronicles 28:20, Hebrews 13:5).
And no matter how dark the darkness is, He will find you.