Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hide and Seek (Part 2 of 2)

Picking up on yesterdays thoughts about being 'hidden' by God for a season, I often find myself wondering what it must have been like for Jesus. Fully God yet fully man, for thirty uncelebrated years He submitted to what appeared to be a delayed destiny. All that observers saw was the tip of the iceberg, occasional glimpses of His power. Like the time when He walked unseen through a crowd that was calling for His head and had quite literally pushed Him to the edge of a cliff. Even glimpses of greatness such as these occasions did not come close to indicating the measure of greatness that lay just beneath the surface of Jesus' unapplauded life. As soldiers spat on Him, kicked Him and mocked Him; as Herod and Pilate played 'tag' with Him as they sent Him back and forth between them, could any of them have even imagined that they were mocking their maker?

What does obscurity and hiddenness build in us? What grows under the surface between our true capabilities and our current realities? If you're like me, a 'pause' from God in the midst of my circumstances (as I perceive they should be), often sends me spiraling into self-doubt and recrimination. But the truth is, it's in the anonymous seasons that God builds the greatest character. Don't take my word for it, just ask Joseph what Egypt was like before he became Prime Minister. Consider this insightful statement by Maltbie D. Babcock:

"The workshop of character is everday life. The uneventful and commonplace hour is where the battle is lost or won."

The greatest testimony to the value of hiddenness comes from God Himself. After thirty years of obscurity, as Jesus stepped into the Jordan River to be baptized by his rugged cousin, John, a voice from heaven declared, "This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased." (Matt. 3: 17) Jesus hadn't preached one sermon, healed one leper, opened one blind eye, nor done any of the things for which we refer to Him as Savior. God's affirmation, pleasure, and applause were for the hidden years. Out of hiddenness comes the humility to serve selflessly. Out of hiddenness comes the character and integrity to make the right choices even when they are unapplauded or unseen (by everyone except God). The same principle that applied for Jesus in the murky waters of the Jordan, still applies for us today. God is saying to you, "Your are my child, I love you, with you I am well pleased." Is there a greater testimony that we could desire to hear in the midst of obscurity than that?


Hope said...

The one thought that sees me through these seasons of - let's say 'stillness' - is the unmistakable truth of how very much He must have loved us that He would give up His Son for intimacy with us. I cling to this thought and the fact that I know my character is being forged for His glory in the stillness, in the silent times. I cling sometimes with my life to His promises.

Moose Man said...

Joesph that was amazing. I am speechless. Talk about orienting your goals. We should strive to have lives that God is pleased with in obsecurity even more than greatness. Thats huge.

Joseph said...

Hope- Too true. His love is unfathomable at the best of times.

Moose Man- This is the stuff of real life. This is what we are striving to live daily.