“For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. ”
Ready or not, here I come!
I’m sure we’ve all experienced the thrill of a good old fashioned round of ‘Hide and Seek’. The Seeker counts loudly while giggles erupt and curtains swish and cupboard doors slam and closets creak. The Hiders disperse to their favourite spots and wait in a variety of modes – the Impatient, who pops up well before the Seeker arrives and yells ‘Boo!’. The Funny Bone, who laughs uncontrollably and gives herself away every time. And the Determined Veteran, who falls asleep on occasion because her hiding spot was a little too good.
And then the footsteps come – stealthy for older littles who know the drill, pit-pattered-giggle-layered if they are younger and too naive to know how things work.
There may even be some gloating.
‘Found you!! I win!’
All fun and games, right?
But we adults also play hide and seek.
It’s uncanny, how well we can hide when real trouble comes.
We may avoid a coworker we need to apologize to. We procrastinate when the job ahead looks tough or overwhelming. Our partner overrides our decisions so we begin hiding our true desires as a coping mechanism. Past hurts creep into present relationships, so we mask our identity in gossip, jokes, or a fake front.
We even hide from God.
It pinches when we are confronted with our own shortcomings, doesn’t it? And spending time with a perfect God seems to highlight all those flaws and bring them right into the open! And those scars – sometimes, they burn in God’s presence. His truth prods and pokes at them – and it hurts!
Our instinct is to shove them further, bury them deeper, cover them faster, deny, deny, deny.
Yet that is the exact opposite of what we need to do to experience healing, love, and acceptance.
See, the physician needs to get to the place that is hurting in order to fix it. He may need to cut the offending spot open to bring the wound to light. He may need to gouge deep to find the source of the bleed. He may need rib spreaders to get to the heart.
But we all know that is where the healing begins, right?
That moment when the cancer is brought to the light of day? That moment when the infection is opened to the air? That moment when the broken bone is viewable and in a position to get pinned?
The Bible author here has written something deeply profound. When trouble comes and we want to hide, when we want to sneak away and nurse our wounds like an injured animal, when instinct screams at us to crawl into a hole of self protection, he shows us what we really need.
‘You are my hiding place…’
Every muscle, every ligament and cell is driven to hide from God in our natural selves. Remember Adam and Eve?
But the best hiding place is God Himself.
Tucked in close to His heart, curled up in His lap, being held.
That’s the rule of the ‘Hide’.
Best. Hiding. Spot. Ever.
No one else can find you there. Nothing can snatch you away from those hands of love. If you need open heart surgery, there is no comparable surgeon. If you need a counsellor, there is none better. If you need shelter, affirmation, comfort, guidance, help, healing – there is no other place you could go that could offer you such compassion and tender mercy as the lap of Papa God.
It is there you will find the courage to keep taking one step of faith into that situation that has you floored. It is there that you will find the assurance and comfort and forgiveness you need when you are grieving your own foolish choices. It is there, with the One who designed you, that you will remember who you are.
Because once you have tucked in, once you have spent time recharging and resettling your ruffled feathers and unloading your burdened soul, you will hear them.
Songs of victory…
Music! Not just any music – the music of heaven itself!
A passage in Zephaniah gives us an insight into this other-worldly concert:
“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.””
What the – ?
Let’s get this straight.
So – hit by trouble, I run to God?
And there, I’m protected from trouble?
Check and check.
And then, songs of victory are sung over me?
Imagine how encouraging, uplifting, affirming, and pumping-upping (is that a word?!) those songs would be!!!
Most of us probably haven’t stuck around long enough to find out. We tend to forget that after the ‘Hide’ phase comes the ‘Seek’.
So. Those are the actual rules of this life skill called Hide and Seek.
Things look tough – Hide. Stay there until you hear the songs of victory – Seek.
Then come on out. You’ll be ready to face the world!
Learn the rules of Hide and Seek with me?
Father, we haven’t been playing this ‘life game’ properly. Help us to understand that there is no safer place than You when we hurt, no more solid rebuilding and healing than the place where You sing victory over us. Thank You for this amazing provision! Amen.