I just came back from a week of much needed rest and adventure in Scotland, and wow. Was it the best week of my life so far? Probably. Very much so. Yes. My time there with my friends got me thinking even more about the topic of Hiddenness, and I felt the Lord wanted to take me a little deeper into it (P.S. If you haven’t read my other blog on Hiddenness, now is good of a time as any to do so. :)).
Once we get the revelation that we’ll always feel hidden to the world, but that we are actually seen by the Creator of the Universe, it doesn’t stop there. Knowing that we are seen by God is so assuring, so comforting, and so empowering, but I just can’t bring myself to believe that God would want me, or any of us, to each be an island alone with Him, even if no one else can truly satisfy our need to be understood.
So, what is our purpose?
I love what an old Pastor of mine used to say: the only reason why Jesus didn’t take us to Heaven immediately when we accepted Him (whenever we realized that He saved us and sees us), is because He wanted us to share Him with the world. It’s so simple, and yet so profound if you really think about it. Now that I realize that I can’t be satisfied by being seen, valued, and acknowledged by others, but find all of that fulfillment in God, I know that I can go to Him with everything, no matter what I feel. However, my eyes have also now been opened to the fact that so many other people struggle with these feelings without any safe place at all. The feeling of being hidden. Misunderstood. Unloved. They don’t know yet that there is a God who sees them, knows them, and loves them.
So, what can I do?
My purpose, my responsibility, my job description is to see those who don’t feel seen. I, who once felt so hidden (and still can to a certain extent as no one understands me the way the Lord does), am now in a place where I can actually recognize and see people who struggle with those very same feelings of hiddenness, and love on them there. That is why we can’t just stay isolated in our personal relationship with God, no matter how blessed and wonderful it is. He longs for us to reach out and minister to others, who have not yet come to that place.
I love how Jesus revealed to me that He knew more than me what hiddenness feels like. He is God, and yet He lived as a man. No one understood the path that He had to take, and the life that He chose to live. Even His own brother did not believe in Him while He was alive! He must have suffered with feeling lonely among the people in the world, but He did not suffer for long, because He knew His Father was with Him. 🙂 He also lived to serve others. He truly saw who they were, and the potential they held, and He loved them to it. He became a safe place for those who felt hidden, and He is our example. He is the One who taught Paul, who wrote on and on (I’m reading all of his letters in the New Testament in order right now) to the churches that he established and started, sometimes with tears and sadness, and sometimes with the greatest joy and gladness. He was teaching, and teaching, and teaching, and pouring out, and pouring out, and pouring out. He wasn’t even married, which is a relationship in this world that, if done God’s way, can be such a safe space of encouragement and partnership in love, and not to mention, he suffered with great attacks and obstacles by himself. I can imagine that there were times when he struggled deeply with feeling hidden and misunderstood.
You know what I believe he did in those times though? He surrendered his right to be known to this world, began to know and be known by God, and helped others to come to this revelation as well. This is why his one goal in life, his one mission and joy, was to spur others on in recognizing that they are seen by the Lord – because he had discovered this so much for himself. This is why he poured his heart and soul into the Church and its people everywhere he went. This is why he prayed for people in the streets and taught in the synagogues. This is why he did not stop when he was hit with so much suffering and pain. First, he was truly satisfied in the Lord, and second, he realized that there was more to his life than just him. He followed Jesus’ example.
If you realize that you feel hidden, and just stay feeling way, what does that accomplish? Nothing but turning you into an emotional sap who always feels sorry for yourself and is no good to anybody – that’s what. We’ve got to move past the highs and lows of our emotions and see our lives the way that God sees them. Even when you suffer with something that’s painful, when you see it the way that God does, He doesn’t ignore that it is painful, but He somehow makes it bearable – giving you hope, courage, and strength to make it through even what once seemed impossible.
So, what is the flip-side to hiddenness?
It’s knowing that you are not the only one who feels the way you feel. It’s deciding to pour your heart out before the Lord, and to receive the healing that He longs and loves to give, but it’s also deciding not to be an island there. Our lives mean so much more than for us to just satisfy our physical and emotional needs and then let them be over. We are first called to be satisfied in the Lord and make Him our safe place, and second, we are called to become a safe place to others who don’t know Him yet. The flip-side to hiddenness is that you are not alone in it. Everyone is looking to be seen and heard and loved.
Why not let YOUR eyes that notice, YOUR ears that listen, and YOUR heart that has compassion show them the way through Jesus to the One true God who is able to give them everything they’re looking for?