There have been many days when I feel an overwhelming need to escape to my hiding place. It used to only be some days. Then this last year it became most days. And now if I’m honest, it is every day that my soul whimpers from the crushing weight it carries. I have run, limped, even crawled to my place of comfort seeking the relief that is always available to me there.
But this time is different. I am completely depleted. Unable to move. My faltering eyes struggle to focus on my hiding place. It is where it always is. It doesn’t move or change. But my sight is blurry, and I’m tired, so I hesitate. I resist. And I know my hiding place is close by. That if I could just make it there I will find the nurturing rest and care that I so desperately need. I know that in my head. I even believe that in my heart. But unexplainably I allow myself to crumple in anguished defeat right where I am. Only steps away from the light illuminating God’s open arms.
I tightly close my eyes to keep the tears from spilling onto my cheeks. Over time I’ve become adept at holding them back. I seldom lose control.
But, honestly, sometimes I long to lose control. To unravel the messy tangled knot that is me. To find release in surrendering my body and soul to my Abba Daddy. To empty myself so that He can fill me up with better, healthier, godlier things than presently occupy my being.
Those times when I close my eyes? It helps me to see my hiding place more clearly. My sanctuary. My refuge. And …. I’m not alone there. I have not been forsaken.
You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7
God is my hiding place. God is the One who knows me better than I know myself. And I marvel at that. I really do. Because when God takes my hand and leads me to our haven, it doesn’t always look the same. The path we take is different. The end destination similar yet distinct. But it is always the perfect shelter to mend my brokenness and nourish my soul.
When my heart needs an infusion of peace and stillness, my Abba Daddy leads me to a treehouse nestled in a tranquil forest grove where the quiet, harmonious beauty of His creation surrounds us. Sunbeams filter through the vibrant green foliage settling with a welcoming glow on the entrance. I notice the sign hanging over the door that reads No Pain Allowed. A gentle breeze carries the melody of a songbird towards us. The hurts, chaos and noise of every day life disappear as we silently watch a curious chipmunk on its own adventure. Sitting side by side with our legs dangling over the platform ledge, the faithful, soothing warmth of God’s presence envelops me in this place where no person or thing can find me. I am surrounded. I am protected. I am freed.
There are other times when my heart aches for acceptance, belonging, validation, significance. It is then that God steers me towards a splendid pile of cushions and blankets. We gleefully build a magnificent blanket fort together. Armed with our flashlights, snacks, colouring books and pencil crayons, we huddle cozily together whispering and giggling, delighting in our companionship. I am mesmerized by God’s story telling expertise. As we share gummie bears and chocolate chip cookies, soft pillows and a snuggly blanket, my heart is filled with contentment and joy that there is no other place God would rather be than right there with me. Just as I am. Just as we are. For as long as I need. I am surrounded. I am protected. I am loved beyond measure.
Sometimes seconds is all I need in my hiding place. Just enough time for a hug, a smile, a drink of water, a promise. Sometimes the seconds become days or weeks. Even months when I need shelter, a well, and to just be held. The timing isn’t as important as the where. As the who.
God is my hiding place. My Protector. My Deliverer. When I once again open my eyes, the world isn’t as scary, my heart not so heavy. I am calmer. I am stronger. I am okay. And when things get hard again? I grab my blankets and head for our treehouse.
When you close your eyes, and the noise of the world begins to fade away, when it’s just you and God together in the silent space that remains, where are you?