Did you ever have a great hiding place when you were little?
An aunt and uncle of the NTV have a house in France that has been in the extended family since before he was born. We often eat in the old barn and from where we sit we can see an opening high up in the wall between one section of the barn and another. It was on the ledge of this opening that one boy found a brilliant hiding place for an epic game of ’40 40 in’ amongst the gang of young children (all grown up now) staying there at the time. From his perch he watched as others tried and failed to sneak past the catcher to the base just below him. Then he saw his moment and lept down to claim victory. Whether the victory was worth the broken leg he suffered from as a result is up for debate – his mother I’m sure didn’t think so! Some hiding places are much easier to get into than out of!
Beware where you hide! Outside of the competitive realm of children’s games hiding places should be places of refuge and safety. Sadly adults often take their refuge in perilous places that are even harder to extract themselves from.
Where do you hide when you are fearful? Do you hide IN God or FROM God?
So often we are like Adam – we know we are ‘naked’ and we hide. We cover our eyes with our hands like little children who think that we can’t see them because they can’t see us. But even at that dreadful moment of disobedience and reckoning the only true place to hide for Adam was IN God – in his mercy and his promises and his help.
In his excellent book ‘Intentional‘ Paul Williams describes a time when he scared his young twins (unintentionally!) as a game of ‘bear chase’ got a little too exciting. He recounts that while it was he who had terrified them, it was to him that they ran for refuge. He then shares how this helped him in his understanding of fear of the Lord. To fear the Lord is to run instinctively to him – whatever the fright. To be so deeply aware of his rule and might and trustworthiness AND of his goodness and love that even though it his sovereign will behind the roar we fear we submit to him and shelter in his arms.
In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. Proverbs 14:26
The Psalms are full of the idea of taking refuge in the Lord – but while it is a very clear image, I’m not sure what it looks like practically.
It may help to start by looking at the everyday things I take refuge in instead of God. If I can visualise myself crawling into the safe places of a gripping tv programme, an after lunch sleep, a cup of tea, a blitzing house tidy then surely I can find some clues to help me find refuge in the Lord.
Does what we fear influence where we take our refuge? If it does what do my caves tell me about my fears?
To be continued