Hi everyone, Rob here.
A close read of Genesis 1-3 reveals so much of what we need to know about the human condition and how we relate to God. One of the most startling scenes is this one in chapter 3:6-10, just after the serpent had done his work of deception:
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.
The desire to hide from God has been hardwired into us from our very ancient ancestors. Hiding comes from a sense of shame, of unworthiness and a feeling of nakedness and vulnerability. As I venture into this new season of my life the sense of vulnerability is getting stronger and, with it, the pull to unworthiness and hiding.
I have had some very good hiding places over the years. While many may use pornography, alcohol and drugs, the really effective ones are much more subtle. Naked women and red wine have obvious appeal, but if you’re resorting to that stuff then exposure will soon come. Hiding won’t be an option. I’ve found things like intellectual pursuits, apathy, novels, TV and people pleasing to be helpful in keeping my heart hidden and God’s love at arms length. That way you can be hidden in plain sight as they say.
But it’s not life. It can give a good impression of life as can a lifestyle of cafes and bars, holidays and really great Instagram shots, but it’s not life. It’s certainly not the fullness of life that Jesus offers us. To have that we need to come out of hiding. We need to be seen. We need to be naked. God needs to see our wounds, our fears, our desires and our glory. More specifically, he needs us to see our wounds, our fears, our desires and our glory and to name them in front of him. To do that he needs to strip away all that we’ve used to cover ourselves up and hide our heart away. It’s often painful and frustrating. It’s as if we’ve been hiding in a forest and now every splinter is being pulled out.
It’s not just our wounds we like to keep hidden but our gifting too. We shy away from the glory that God has given us but, by doing so, we keep God’s glory hidden also. Jesus wasn’t afraid of being brilliant but he did so to give glory to God, not to blow his own trumpet. The best athletes reveal the glory of their sport: Roger Federer and tennis, Simone Biles and gymnastics, Rory McIlroy and golf for example. In the same way as we let God shine in us and allow our gifts to emerge we reveal God’s glory. Think of the gifted musician whose beautiful playing makes us feel as if we’re entering heaven, or the preacher who expresses a truth in such a way that our heart soars, or an administrator who makes the complex become simple allowing others to shine as a result.
We die with Christ. We bring our pain and our wounds to the cross. We allow them to be seen. We also offer ourselves as people made in the image of God who reflect his glory when we allow his life to shine through us. Let’s give the Spirit permission to fill us so that the life of God and the glory of God is seen in and through us. Let’s come out of hiding. Let’s get rid of our hiding places and exchange them for the truly safe place of living in God’s love.
Grace and peace everyone.