If you have ever found hidden treasure, you know exactly how it feels! At one of my Grandson's birthdays, the theme was pirates. They have a large area of sand in the backyard, so it made sense for them to "hunt for gold" in that area. My daughter painted everyday pebbles a brilliant gold color and cleverly scattered them just barely beneath the surface. As the activity was introduced, the kiddos did not know what they were digging for, but they were so jazzed when they found their first "chunk" of gold! Before long, everyone of them was digging furiously to find their own "claim" of gold. Why? What was once hidden was no longer - that which was exposed became a thing of interest to many! Now, this was make believe, but in real life, I wonder how many times God cleverly places something of great worth just beneath the surface in our lives, begging for exposure and promising great delight when it is finally out in the open? Maybe more than we think!
There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger and directs us to hidden treasure. Otherwise how will we find our way? Or know when we play the fool? Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh! Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work; Then I can start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin. These are the words in my mouth; these are what I chew on and pray. Accept them when I place them on the morning altar, O God, my Altar-Rock, God, Priest-of-My-Altar. (Psalm 19:11-14 MSG)
Exposure brings into view what once was hidden. Anything which remains in hiding is something which will not be affected by the advances of love. For love to affect us, there is much which must come out of hiding in our lives - so we can experience his tender touch and his healing embrace. A surgeon carefully dissects "surface" tissue, not because he wants to cause pain, but because what will get exposed in the process is then at the disposal of his healing touch. The same is true with Christ - he never asks for anything hidden to come to the surface if he doesn't also stand ready to take what is exposed and touch it in his healing love.
When we uncover who we really are under the surface, the removal of all we erect to act as "blinds" in our lives actually may begin to expose some "rough" areas which will require the skilled hand of a craftsman to smooth out. As I have said on many occasions - our part is to be who we are "in reality" - God's part is to do the work of smoothing out those rough areas. When you really stop to think about it, God died for the "real us", not the made up or cleverly masked us. He died for us as we really are - so we could become what he really is!
Exposure includes a certain element of abandonment. Maybe this is why it so hard. In warfare, a soldier digs in, wears camouflage, and erects "blinds" to hide within so the other army will not be able to see his location. In abandoning this "cover", he is really putting everything on the line. God never asks for us to put something on the line unless what he has planned for us is much greater than what we could ever experience without that abandoning of our place of safety.
A couple of things abandoning our position of "safety" might involve:
- It opens us to his inspection. This may be the most uncomfortable part of the whole abandonment process. Nothing makes us feel more vulnerable than being seen as we really are. To be seen in this manner is to be "under scrutiny" by some - but when the exposure is to his grace-filled eyes, there is no "scrutiny", only grace.
- It opens us to his acceptance. Not acceptance of what is on the surface, but acceptance of what needs his divine touch on the inside. Like the skilled hand of the surgeon, he is thrilled to not only help us identify what needs his touch, but to put to use his skill to transform that area. He accepted us just as we are, but he also promises us so much more than we ever could be alone. It is a double-blessing indeed.
- It opens us to his touch. No touch is so gentle, and also so thorough. I melt away when my grandsons come to me and nuzzle right into me. Why? There is something so tender about their touch - they hold on, hug tight, and just make me feel awesome. Now, imagine that on a scale of about 1,000 times that much awesomeness and you get the idea of what it is like to be touched by Jesus - gentle, yet thorough; skilled, yet care-filled; cutting, yet totally healing.
- It opens us to his voice. If you have ever not been paying close attention to someone else around you, you know the power of a gentle nudge to get your attention once again. That little nudge refocuses you, but guess what it speaks to the one who had to nudge you? You weren't listening! When we are open to exposure, we are open to his nudges - to get us to listen where we need to hear his words most.
- It opens us to his revelation. Part of hearing his voice is heeding its direction. Abandoning our position of self-made security often brings us into a greater place of seeing our enemy for what he really is - it exposes the truth about what has been hidden. Maybe this seems a little frightening to some, but when we can truthfully see what we are dealing with, that is half the battle!
God teaches us to be open, to be passionate, and to be available to him. To be desirous of the intimacy of his presence and the liberty of his touch is the starting point for freedom in our lives. Just sayin!