The Gift of Hiddenness
One of the greatest, most unappreciated gifts God gives us is hiddenness. Few even recognize it as an actual word. But it’s desperately needed in the evangelical lexicon. Everything in our culture works feverishly against it. So many, (including myself) have felt unseen without truly enjoying the power of this great gift. But it is throughout the Bible.
The psalmist sings, “You are my hiding place.” John the Baptist declares it. “He must increase and I must decrease.” Moses is hidden between the rocks when God’s glory slowly passed by him in a mysterious place of meeting. The hiddenness of a Man named Mordecai almost cost him his life until God intervened.
The legends of our faith knew the value of hiddenness. But everything in our flesh would hope that somehow we would be seen. This is especially true for writers, performers, artists and many preachers. There is a gnawing sense of discontent when the art, the poetry, the messages are in the shadows rather than syndicated to the masses. We crave a bigger platform, a larger readership, a growing subscriber base, a mention on Facebook, a retweet, and to keep our name valuable in the currency of the collective conversations we share. Jesus valued none of this.
Do we need more books, more roles, more opinions, more editorials, more decorative doves and theological theories? Do we need more blog posts like this one?
We need more mystics, monks, servants and seers.
When we are hidden, when credit is not given, when the awards are not received, this, for the believer is the real nectar and bliss of Gospel living.
This truth frightens me: Lucifer fell from the heights of heaven after rejecting the virtue of hiddenness in the Father.
Can you make a habit out of rejoicing when you are not acknowledged or affirmed?
Can you enjoy the pleasure of giving generously, but secretly?
Are you praying more in the closet than you do in the public arena?
The duality of this post is that I am writing about the very thing that I am NOT doing as I am writing! As I write I hope that people will read it. Perhaps I’m a hypocrite. I don’t really know.
I will actually post this somewhere out in the open air of the illustrious and vulgar marketplace of ideas. It will be no longer hidden. If I’m lucky more than three other people will read it. But I am trying to adjust my posture about the words I write. Living more for Him. Trying, failing, stumbling, repenting as I decrease. Hopefully by the end of my life Jesus will be more visible than I make Him today and I will almost disappear completely. Maybe at the end of my journey those closest to me will stand around my bed and whisper, “God took him and he was no more.”
How does one speak out and enjoy the hiddenness of the inner sanctum?
(I’m still wrestling with that one.)
It’s a tension we all must manage because there is a very fine line between godly hiddenness and false humility. The artist, writer, minister has been commissioned but for Whose legacy? Who gets admired in the process? Do we say, “What a great song!” or do we say, “What a great God!”
This I do know. I know what hiddenness is. (Desiring it is quite another thing all together.)
It is stopping when I begin to promote myself. It is valuing Sabbath when I feel the urge to leap past rest and into a mad dash of activity and responsibility. Hiddenness is willing to stop and give secretly, generously because that is what love does. Hiddenness is enjoying being out of the spotlight and admiring the successes of others. Hiddenness is enjoying the slow decline of your notoriety and the advent of your anonymity.
Hiddenness is when your head hits the pillow and you thank God extravagantly for keeping you hidden for another day.