When it comes to finding something that has been lost, my husband is far better than I am at staying on-task. Yet for years, he has insisted that there is a conspiracy against him when it comes to finding something he is looking for. On countless occasions, he has called me into a room (after he has torn everything apart) to help him find something he knows is there but it’s hiding and he just can’t see it. There are times when it has been hard to resist a giggle, as I casually reach over and hand the lost item to him. More often however, I join him in the hunt and we both end up frustrated. In recent years we have learned to actually ask God for help in those situations and the outcome has been far better!
Sometimes people hide in plain sight–knowingly or unknowingly. Clark Kent comes to mind– living a very ordinary life outwardly (thanks to a pair of glasses and a suit) but who whizzes around saving the world as Superman. I love the cartoon that depicts him on a crowded bus sitting between a dozing Superman-want-to-be and a young boy trying to alert his mom to Clark/Superman’s presence–but she doesn’t want to hear it. It makes me wonder how much of “life” I miss just trying to focus on my “to do list” like that boy’s mom?
Do you ever hide in plain sight? Until recently convicted, I never realized that I have that tendency. What does hiding in plain sight look like?We hide in plain sight when we go through the motions of what is expected, but our hearts and minds are not really engaged. There are times when we hide in plain sight, as we await God’s answer to our prayers. We hide in plain sight, when we distance ourselves from people we ordinarily trust– because we are afraid our tears will betray us. We hide in plain sight, when we throw ourselves into an activity– to create a buffer between ourselves and the pain of loss or change. We hide in plain sight, when we stop doing what we believe we should do, because it is too painful to continue.
The common denominator of hiding in plain sight in these instances? Fear . . . worry . . . the avoidance of pain and . . . the hardest of all to have to admit to . . . PRIDE.
Hiding in plain sight in the short term, can be helpful, as it gives time to process whatever weighs heavy on the heart. For me, hiding in plain sight in recent weeks has given me time to sort out my thoughts and emotions when I think about my dad. Three thousand mile separate us so I have always been grateful for our phone connection. Recently though, I have ended up in tears as some days he seems to fade away, has put the phone down and forgotten to pick it up again. Oh how I would love to be Superman and rescue my dad . . . but it just is not that easy.
There is a danger in hiding in plain sight for too long– becoming self-absorbed. Many times hiding in plain sight for an extended length of time can deepen depression, increase anxiety and rob us of the hope God has for us as we learn to trust Him more.
This past week I found comfort in the words the Apostle Paul wrote to his friends in Corinth. II Corinthians 2:4 helped me come to terms with my fears and concerns for my dad and the family I hold dear. Referring to a previous letter expressing deep concern for them Paul wrote:“For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.” (ESV)
As I read Paul’s letter the words affliction, anguish of heart and tears jumped off the page before me as they captured the essence of my emotions as I think of my dad. Such emotions are painful . . . no one wants to endure such suffering! Yet, I found encouragement as the words, abundant love flew at me like a banner of hope! What do affliction, anguish of heart and tears have in common with abundant love?Without the tension of the first three ingredients, there is no way of realizing our capacity to love as God has loved us. It is always the love of God that will ultimately reveal what is hidden, to bind and strengthen our relationships with Him and with others.
When it comes to finding what has been lost, God is the Primo Expert of all. Have you been hiding in plain sight, perhaps struggling with disappointment or loss? Be encouraged in knowing that God sent His Son to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10) . . . even when they don’t know they need to be found. Pray about all that is on your heart . . . dig into His Word . . . and give thanks for His abundant love!For thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day.” Ezekiel 34: 11, 12
All to His Glory!