Then this morning in spending time with the Lord as I scurried around taking care of the 18 dogs in my care, the Lord reminded me what had happened yesterday. I had asked my pastor’s wife how I could help her at the soup kitchen. She told me that in six minutes I would preach the Word of God. The Bible says we are to be ready all the time to preach if we are called, and the next thing I knew I was preaching to a large group of people who were broken, homeless, impoverished, depressed, etc. And I preached the message the Lord gave me without my usual several weeks of advanced notice I would preach.
Little did I know the message was as much for me as for everyone else – and that I would be tested, hard, in less than 24 hours. I began by asking how many in the room grew up with godly, loving, kind, tender, fathers in the home. About four out of 60 people raised their hands. I spoke of how difficult it can be to trust our Father in heaven for those of us who were wounded by our human fathers. And I preached on the fishermen whom Jesus called to launch out into the deep and cast down their nets despite the fact they had caught nothing from all their hard labor (Luke 5).
I preached about how those of us who have been so badly broken oftentimes will not launch into the deep and cast down our nets because what we have caught in the past is abuse, neglect, abandonment, rejection, brokenness, pain, hardship, etc. I preached how some of us have held onto our pasts, the pain, the brokenness, because it feels safer and more familiar than taking the risk of launching into the deep and not knowing what we will catch next. How can we truly trust our Father in heaven when we are called to launch out and cast down our nets.
And I preached how only recently the Lord showed me the net in my life is my heart, and that He had asked me to give Him my heart and take one of the biggest risks in my life – the risk of being rejected by someone I love beyond description. I preached how I believe the Lord is calling us to come out of our hiding places, and to learn to trust Him. I preached how the Bible is the place we learn who our true Father really is, and where we learn to trust – along with developing an intimate, personal relationship with the Lord through time spent with Him, prayer, study of His Word, etc. I preached how meeting Jesus is not enough – that many have met Him but quickly turned away for they feared perhaps the Lord would be just like their earthly father.
I preached how the Lord showed me that my fear of being rejected again after decades of rejection from family and other loved ones is nothing compared with what Jesus endured on the cross. And He KNEW He would be rejected. He did it anyway – for us.
But it was not until this morning that I saw what the devil did in response to my preaching yesterday. He attacked – and he attacked so hard I went reeling from the attack. But just as he attacked, which undoubtedly the Lord allowed, the Lord began His testing.
The Bible clearly says that the LORD is our HIDING PLACE – not the seemingly secure, familiar, old, places of the flesh we have sought as a place of “refuge”. These false refuges, like addiction, like abusive relationships, like hiding under the covers and so very much more, brought destruction, misery, and anything and everything but the protection of the Lord. When the Bible says we are to go into the secret place of the Lord, this according to the concordance is actually a hiding place. But it is not a man-made hiding place. It is the Lord Himself.
What was the test for me? Would I preach a powerful message from the Lord and walk away as though the message was meant for others alone? Or would I preach the message the Lord gave me and endure the fiery trial to follow, remember the Lord Jesus is in the fire with me, and pass the test? Would I seek the hiding place of the Lord Himself, or would I run back to the familiar. The answer is simple. I failed the test. The tears say enough. The fear came with a vengeance. My thoughts spoke it all.
But the Lord prevailed. And victory has come. I saw myself in the old hiding place. And I remembered the message from the Lord. And I saw that the old hiding place – the very place I had preached the Lord wants us to let go of as we launch into the deep and cast down our nets – will no longer work. I know too much. I know the Lord. And I know the answer. It is the Lord. He is the answer. He is my hiding place.
I am faced again with taking one of the greatest risks in my life so far, and I have two choices. I can go running back to my old hiding place. Or I can leave it behind, I can go running to the mercy seat, to the throne of grace, confess my sin of what I have done, seek and receive His forgiveness, and give Him my heart once more. I can launch out into the deep, knowing Jesus is beside me, and cast down my net.
I know what I will choose, as I prepare to finish this writing and seek His face as I fall to my knees before Him.
The Lord is my hiding place.
Is He yours?