Today’s post was written by a sweet friend of mine named, Aimee. We were talking one day and she shared the following story with me. I loved how she reminded me that not only should we ask God to help us see Him, but to also remember that He always sees us; even when we try to hide. I pray you are as blessed by her words as I have been.
May You SEE us in our hiding place.
S.E.E. has opened my eyes to the amazing daily workings of God in my life, as well as the lives of others. Before reading S.E.E. I never really considered that the work of God in my life is a true miracle and that God cared so much for me to have everyday encounters with Him. Of course, on paper I knew He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7), but as I’ve had a heightened awareness of Jesus in my life and have prayed that I would “S.E.E” God in new ways, He has answered in an abundant yet perhaps even humbling ways.
One day as I was waiting to meet a friend for lunch, I found myself at the restaurant a little earlier than usual, hmm that’s unusual. Well, it just so happened that a thrift store was next door so I decided to wander in knowing I couldn’t get into too much financial trouble and I might even stumble upon a treasure or two. Wow, did I ever stumble. I wandered about the store and was about ready to leave when I caught a glimpse of the pastor of my old church standing outside the door. The one who never said anything to me when I was sick and in the hospital, the one whom I’d always felt so insecure around, you know, that one? “Man”, as an anxious feeling filled me, I’m stuck in here now.” I kept peeking out the window of the thrift store to see if he had left, yet the pastor continued to chat on the phone, as if for eternity. I’d wander around picking things up then peering outward hoping and praying he would leave soon.
Just then I felt this shame come over me and the Father’s voice saying, “Aimee, why, are you hiding from (of all people) him? Oh Lord, I thought “hiding” really??? I mean, he was just a human, just like me, yet a brother in Christ. A pastor of all people. What was I afraid of anyway?
Maybe you’ve been in similar situations, like those times when you see someone you haven’t seen for ages and you think, “She hasn’t called me, so she must not like me, so I’ll just stand over here on the grocery side of Target while she’s on the other side and hope she doesn’t “S.E.E.” me. Or maybe you forgot to put on your makeup and your hair is greasy, so you just don’t want to run into anyone and there she is at the next grocery counter. You tilt your hat down hoping she won’t S.E.E. you. Or if we really want to get personal what about at church? Do you take the long way around so you don’t have to run into her because feelings were hurt and it’s been easier to just hide than to forgive? Maybe you call it camouflaging, covering or how about masking. Yep, no matter what you call it, it’s all the same, hiding.
Or, maybe even more personal, and it’s like my situation was, as I began to recount to God (because of course this is different), “well I went through a hard time, and this pastor just didn’t seem to care, I’m so hurt, Lord. Please, I just don’t want to run into him, not now, not tomorrow, well quite frankly, not ever.” I’ll feel so fake when I say I’m all great. When what I really want to say is how hurt I am that he didn’t reach out.”
Well, finally, the pastor left, and I could come out of my little hole in the wall (literally), but the words stuck with me. Over the next few weeks whenever I’d see someone that I was anxious about running into, I’d feel that feeling, then the voice, “are you hiding?” Sometimes I’d hide, but I really tried to come out of the closet, say hello and actually engage. Each time I was blessed by the interaction to where I began to crave relationship.
I began to ask myself the same question? What am I hiding from anyway? I began to realize that I was really more afraid of people than I was of God. I love God, a lot, but maybe I thought, just maybe I had put people above God on the hierarchy whom I should please, and as God was revealing to me, that was idolatry and it was wrong.
I began to dialogue with the Lord, “but what if that person doesn’t like me, what if I’ve wronged them in some way, what if I say something stupid?” Yet the Lord gently reassured me, but I love you and what they think doesn’t matter. But you are a child of mine and are called to love my people (John 13:34). And you can’t do it every time you hide from them.
Wow! Treasure #1 – my fear of people was actually idolatry, putting them above God.
Treasure #2 – what love had I missed out on because I was hiding, worse yet, what love had I neglected to give because of my hiding…
Then recently, I found myself on a walk with my dog. I came around the corner and I saw ‘her’ come out of her house. She had her tennis bag and wore a limp in her leg. I used to play tennis with her, I thought to myself, but I hadn’t seen her for awhile. I wonder how she is doing, why did she stop playing tennis with me, anyway, I babbled on? I kind of wanted to hide, but was aware of this lesson that was in progress in me, so I bent down to pick up the dog doo and waited. It was then that I saw her move to the other side of the street without acknowledging me.
Hey, I thought, was she hiding from me? Then God said to me, “I see you, Aimee. I see you!” You see me, God? You mean I’m not invisible??? And I was reassured with scripture that He does see me. As in Genesis 16:13 when God spoke to Hagar, the mistress of Father Abraham, where it says, “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
Wow! Treasure #3 – there are other hiders, and some are even hiding from me.
So I began to think that maybe there are other hiders in this world. Maybe I’m not alone in this hiding thing. Maybe there are Master Hiders, could I be one of them? Well if you are one and you identify, you know what to do. The first thing is to Confess. Confess and get God to his rightful place. The second thing is to turn from your tendency to hide
and begin to bless others by being real and genuine with them about who you are. Strongly consider your identity in Christ (Ephesians is a great place to start). If God loves you, don’t you think others will, too.
As I’m finding out, believers should all be loving one another to the nth degree, anyway. I mean, Jesus says to love others as I loved you (John 13:34) and He died for us. Make an impact on your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and even more so on non-believers. Reach out even when you have the urge to hide. Maybe the reason you want to hide is because you have a zit on your chin or you’ve just gained 20 lbs. in the last 2 weeks. So what, let’s be real with one another. Maybe someone needs to see that zit on you because they think you’re perfect. Maybe the reason you messed up on that speech was so that others would know you aren’t perfect and would have courage to speak out for themselves. There is no telling what God might be doing, yet if we are all hiding from one another, God can not love on us through our brothers and sisters in Christ.
So remember earlier when I said that I stumbled, well check out the rest of the story. In Psalm 37:24 the Lord assures us that though “he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” What an awesome promise! Know the Word so you can know who God is and who He made you to be. Have confidence in knowing that all things happen for a reason including running into people we know. When we obey Him and do as we are called, He will uphold us with His (amazing, omnipotent, strong, right) hand. We should have no fear of that person, as long as He is guiding our steps. Because just as we can S.E.E. Him in our everyday encounters, He too sees us and delights in our obedience to Him.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-15