Sometimes I just want to pull the covers over my head and block out the world. When I’m under stress, I want to hide and make it all go away.
We often hear kids say that they just want to hide. They want to hide forever. Or they want to hide their face. They want to blend into the background so that no one will notice them. Hiding is a natural human response to a lot of our painful emotions: shame, insecurity, stress, and fear of the future.
God Knows You Want to Hide
Because it is a natural human response, I find it extra beautiful that the bible says this about God:
“His massive arms are wrapped around you, protecting you. You can run under his covering of majesty and hide. His arms of faithfulness are a shield, keeping you from harm.”
… “When we live our lives within the shadow of God Most High, our secret hiding place, we will always be shielded from harm.”
God knows our desire to hide. He knows all about it. So he addresses it in our language. He actually refers to himself as our hiding place.
We have a lemon tree in our yard. Every year, it produces lemons, but this last year it went crazy. Like it hit its maturity and the lemons sprouted all over and grew beautifully and plentifully. We ate or gifted every lemon from that tree last summer. Every single one, and there were hundreds. I put lemon juice in my water every morning, in my green drink, in tea. I put beautiful shiny lemons in bowls on the counter and in bags to give to friends. The lemons brought me a little joy every single day. I love this tree.
One day in June, realizing I had picked all of the beautiful, low-hanging fruit, I spotted the lemon I wanted. It was tucked back closer to the trunk. I carefully navigated my hand through thorns and leaves and grabbed that bulbous beauty. It came off the vine like butter, and I held it, gazing upon it in admiration. It was twice the size of the others with thick beautiful skin. And I said to that lemon, “Wow! You’ve been protected under those big, green leaves, defended by those thorns all summer. The birds and the bugs didn’t even attempt to get you. And look at you. You have grown huge and so beautiful.” Well maybe I actually just said, “wow” out loud and said the rest of that in my head, but I certainly thought it.
And I heard God say to me, And that is what I require of you.
If you want to grow strong and beautiful, just stay close to me. Listen to me and let me cover you with protection and care.
I have not looked at a lemon the same since.
Here’s what He’s been teaching me since that day:
What I want for you, is to sit with me and keep company with me. I want you to let me shield you. And to cover you and care for you. I want you to learn from me.
I want you to hide your life in mine, and I want you to know that all of the consequences are on me. Actually, your life is mine, so everything that happens to you is my responsibility. This is where your growth happens. This is where you beauty resides. Keep company with me. That’s what I require of you.
Love and Freedom
That feels like a lot of love and freedom. God is not requiring me to take on the full weight of life and all of the consequences of it.
He is requiring me to keep company with him and learn from him. And to allow him the honor of being in charge of the consequences. He says to me and to you, hand it over, child. Let it be my responsibility. It’s too heavy for you, and I’ve promised you that I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and learn from me and I’ll teach you to live freely and lightly.
My friend, I don’t know about you, but to me “freely and lightly” are some of the most beautiful words. That kind of life is possible. And I want it every day. This is my rhythm. Resting close to the vine, under his leaves, protected and cared for.
Doesn’t that sound wonderful to you? Maybe you’ve been carrying a heavy load. Maybe you’ve felt exposed and you just want to hide. God calls himself your hiding place. He says, stop thinking about everything on earth, and set your mind on me. He says keep company with me. He says get away with me. He says let me cover you and hide your life in mine.
If you feel like hiding, I’m not here to say quit hiding. I’m actually saying, God offers you a hiding place in him because he knows you need it. How loving. How wonderful. Take a load off, child, and rest.