There are no limits to what God can do with a life that is fully submitted to Him.
I have wholeheartedly believed this for as long as I can remember. Day in and day out, I live with this deep conviction that He’s for me and when I give Him everything I won’t be disappointed.
But what about those seasons where I feel hidden? Or when the things I know God has placed inside of me feel like they will never see the light of day? What about the times when my purpose or calling feels distant?
I think we all go through this at some point. It could be triggered by a move, job change or loss, or transitioning roles. It's not uncommon and I know I'm not alone.
Take Joseph for example. Dude was so hidden. You can find his story in Genesis 37-45.
Joseph, who dreamed his brothers would one day bow down to him, is sold into slavery by these same brothers. He finds himself in a seemingly hopeless situation, hidden for forty years before his dreams actually come to pass.
In the end, God strategically used Joseph's season of hiddenness to showcase His glory.
Over the years God has patiently shown me how to embrace seasons of hiddenness.
As I’ve yielded to the Holy Spirit in these seasons, He has grown me in ways that I wouldn’t trade for anything. He has enlarged my capacity to just be with Him and I treasure the time I have come to set aside to listen and surrender. These are the moments where everything else falls away and I am His beloved.
From these encounters, I wanted to share some the things I've learned with you.
Faithfulness in Hiddenness
When it feels like your God-given gifts aren’t being utilized in the way you had hoped, it doesn’t mean you should ignore them.
You’re called to faithfulness in hiddenness because God doesn’t invest something in us that He doesn’t intend to get a return on. That return is always about bringing Him glory so that He can draw people to Himself. (2 Timothy 1:14) It may not look like what you thought, but that’s mostly because you don’t see like He does. Rest assured, faithfulness will yield results.
Ephesians 2:10 says that God prepared good works for us ahead of time so that we could walk in them, but we have to be ready to walk in what He has prepared. This requires faithfulness on our part.
Also, if you love something, you’re not going to stop growing or investing in that area just because no one is watching, right? What a sobering thought to let sink in.
Contentment in Hiddenness
Rest requires trust. A lot of it.
It's not easy. Rest is so contrary to our human nature that we often forget that this is God's plan and if He has us in a place where we feel “hidden,” then it's for a good reason.
His plans have always been so much better than mine. They are always so much bigger. When I look back I see His strategy in every step and every move. I also see the times where I became anxious and tried to move things in a certain direction. Almost like I was telling God, "You're just not moving fast enough. I've got it from here." Looking back, I laugh at myself realizing how foolish it was to think I was in control. Self-promotion is a very real temptation when you feel like the world is telling you that you're getting too old or pretty soon you won't have anything to offer. But when we wholeheartedly trust God to do the heavy lifting we can rest and there is nothing like it.
David (from the Bible) was anointed as king long before he ever took the throne. In the interim, the king he was supposed to replace was actively trying to kill him. Instead of retaliating when he had the chance, David chose mercy. King Saul, however, was so afraid of losing the position, which had become his identity, that he became obsessed with killing David.
While David is a great example of contentment in hiddenness, Saul is a great example of the fear and obsession that results from finding one’s identity in a position or title. (1 Samuel 16-31)
Prayerfulness in Hiddenness
Prayer is a divine alignment of our will to God’s.
When we feel hidden to the world around us God wants to reveal that His affirmation and affection are enough to fulfill the longing in our hearts. Only cultivating a deep prayer life will yield the fruit that abiding in Him produces. If you haven’t read John 15 lately, I encourage you to do so…and then I recommend reading it again.
The hidden or secret place is where God reveals Himself. As we behold Him, we can’t help but become more like Him. Hiddenness, when embraced, has the potential to produce the kind of character that can withstand the challenges we'll face when our gifts are acknowledged. If we have developed a habit of consistent communion with God, when the time comes, we will offer our gifts as a sacrifice to the God who saved us, loves us, and gives us an identity in Him.
The Big Picture
"To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places." Ephesians 3:8-10 ESV
I want to encourage you to embrace hiddenness. I know it can be frustrating and downright depressing when you don’t feel like you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve been there. These are the times where God does the deepest work in us–when we learn to love people better and what’s most important. It’s when we cultivate a lasting dependence on God, and in turn, He grows us far beyond the places our own efforts could ever take us. The result is something God can use to draw people to Himself.
One more thing: you're not as hidden as you might think.
People see you and they see the fruit born from your covenant and communion with God. The light inside you shines brighter and brighter with every decision to yield and every moment of surrender. In the end, it's more than worth it.
God's plan has always been to reveal the work that He's done in you, to others. It may not be what you expect, but I do know this...it's so much better.