Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hiding in the Heart of God

Hide in the heart of God.

What does that mean?

I once wrote down every name that God is called throughout the book of Psalms—my refuge, my rock, my shield, my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer…Those names mean protection, strength, and safety. And God is the ultimate provider of those things. We can rest in His presence—hide in Him—when we feel anxious, overwhelmed, hurt, helpless, hopeless, or defeated. God is our shield and our strength.

For many of us, fear, anxiety, guilt, and shame keep us from seeking refuge in God, because we feel unworthy, unlovable, or ashamed to approach Him. So we “hide” in other things instead.

I know that I have a tendency to hide in my circumstances and make excuses for not having enough time for God, to hide in worry and let it dissolve my trust in Him, and to hide in anxiety and let it rob me of the rest and reassurance that God wants to cover me with. What do you hide in? Relationships? Schedules? School and work? Financial stuff? The list never stops, really. But we need to learn to hide in the heart of the God who created us, chose us, loves us, and protects us, instead of letting our view of reality be manipulated by our often fickle emotions or distorted sense of identity.

Author Brennan Manning wrote that the heart of God is Jesus’ hiding place, a strong protective space where God is near, where connection is renewed, where trust, love, and self-awareness never die, but are rekindled. In times of opposition, rejection, hatred, frustration, busyness, or danger, Jesus retreats to that hiding place where he is loved. In times of weakness and fear, a gentle strength and mighty perseverance are born there. In the face of mounting incomprehension and mistrust, the Father alone understands him.

That’s the place where I want to hide.

What does hiding in the heart of God look like? It's as simple as taking five or ten minutes to pray, a word of surrender or repentance, a commitment to trust, to read a verse or two, or to quote a song that expresses God’s love for you. It's taking a moment to shift your perspective.

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
Psalm 118:8 (NIV)

He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
Psalm 18:30 (NIV)

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2 (NIV)

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7 (NIV)

Hide in the heart of God.

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