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Better than the bushes

Do you remember playing that simple game of "hide and seek", running wildly around the house or yard, trying to find just the right hiding place?  Back in the day, we had a great neighborhood for hiding. We had 13 citrus trees in our yard, not to mention a huge mulberry tree, and two pretty impressive sized junipers just as you turned into the driveway to our house. All provided ample hiding space for one who could scurry up the trunk and into the cover of the leaves, or scooch way down inside the juniper's ample cover fast enough. In addition to this, we had all kinds of hiding places behind the pigeon coop, around the pool area, behind the garage, and even behind a row of shiny silver trash cans. Yet, as I recall all the places I hid, none was as safe as the place I run to now when I just need a little 'hiding out' from life's challenges!

God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in sea storm and earthquake, before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains. Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God-of-Angel-Armies protects us. (Psalm 46:1-3)

We all have "hiding places" we run to from time to time - either because we feel threatened, or we just need a good place to get away from it all. Some are more skilled at this "hiding" thing than others are - try as we might, we just cannot seem to find them when they "duck for cover" or crawl into that place of 'hiding' that they frequent. The problem with most of our "hiding" places is the "purpose" behind our need to hide in the first place! Sometimes we hide because the guilt of our sin seems too big. At others, we hide simply because the "work" of being exposed is just too much - we'd have to keep an eye on our facade of being righteous just a little too closely for our liking! Probably one of the most telling reasons for hiding is the tendency we all have to feel "inferior" to someone else - so we hide what we see as our flaws and imperfect abilities from others.

Regardless of why we are hiding, we need to recognize there is only one safe place to "hide". The purpose of hiding is to prevent something from being discovered. The only "safe" place where we can be who we really are is in the presence of God. Yet, we run for all kinds of other "cover" instead of the one place where we can just "let down our hair" and be "real". Why? I think it may be as simple as us thinking our "cover" is working! Look at our passage again. God is a safe place to hide - not to conceal us, but to help us when we are in a place of need. It is in the very presence of God where we are changed - our need to conceal becomes void because he is able to change what we desire to cover-up! He is even a safe place for one to seek! Hide or seek - he is it!

I know many of my readers face challenging times today. There are battles with cancer, the depression of significant loss of one form or another, the inward and constant pull of some secret sin, or perhaps the exhaustion of trying to be all things to everyone in your life. Regardless of the challenge we face, we have but one 'good option' - run to God. Hide in him for a while. In your "running for HIS cover", you are running right into what will meet your every need. No tree, bush, shed, or other "hiding place" really could have done the same for me back in the day as this 'cover' I can find in him today! He has truly become my place for not only hiding, but also for my seeking. We desire to stand fearless on the "cliff-edge" of the challenge before us, don't we? Courage seems to slip through our fingers as sand slowly falling through the hourglass. We just don't know how to get a grip on what has us in the fight of our lives. Here's the secret - run to God. He knows! Seems too simple, doesn't it, but it really isn't. When we run to the place where we are safe to be exactly who and what we are, we are open to receive the very thing we need to embrace to face the challenge head-on.

It is in being "real" with God, in the secret place of his refuge, that we are able to "get real" with the things and people we deal with today. God already knows we fear the "cliff-edge" - we do ourselves no favors by covering up or denying our fear. He already knows the storms are heavy upon us - we do not "ride them out" by trying to row against the winds! Instead, we "sail through them" by allowing him to direct our sails. Run to the only hiding place where all things good are at your disposal - God's presence. Afraid to? Don't be! His grace is sufficient to forgive your sin, his love fills every gap in your behavior, and his heart is always towards his children! His joy stuns our senses with the awesomeness of renewal and awakening. His peace settles the rushing waves of doubt and fear which seek to overwhelm our minds. His healing touch energizes our frailness with renewed vitality. No better hiding (or seeking) place, indeed! Just sayin!

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