“How great is Your goodness, Which You have stored up for those who fear You, Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, Before the sons of men! You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues” (Psalm 31:19-20).
The search for happiness is a quest by every human. Would you not agree?
Some people seem to find happiness in just the everyday kind of stuff… you know… the daily routine kind of activities and that which is temporary—pertaining only to the now… to this human life.
Then there are those, who surrender to the God, the Creator. These have their minds focused on things above and not on the cares of this world. They have a peace about them that surpasses ALL understanding (Philippians 4:7).
You know, it’s this sense of a deeper connection with God that has been an inner yearning in us since time began. I know it has been for me.
I often think about friends or people I come across, who carry a presence within themselves… who handle obstacles with poise and grace. Those people I call the tangible ones… the “There’s-Something-About-Them” kind of people. The one’s you could label as surrounded by divinity. These seem to all have one thing in common: they pursue a renewing of the mind within an intimate relationship with God in secret.
In Romans 12:2 we are told, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
When I think about these secret hiding places of those from the Bible, I think of our passionately devoted to God, King David, who’s love for the LORD and regret for wrong made his heart so humbly revert to our Heavenly Father, and perhaps it was the greatest driving force behind him producing all those 150 Psalms. It was our Psalmist David’s secret place—that hidden private place of meditation and communication with God, that made him King.
How bout Gideon? He had that incredible courage and was able to retain Jesus’ ability to keep loving amongst adversity, right?
I recently enjoyed reading one Christian’s definition of her secret place; that it is that place where she directs her heart, and when she arrives there, she has the most wonderful exchange of love and adoration. God hands to her strength hope, delight and encouragement, and she gives back to Him her thankful thoughts, her honest questions, her silent dreams and her forever devotion.
It is that secret place with God, that holds the most intimate of conversations.
Have you ever heard people say to you “oh gee, you’ve really changed since when I once knew you”… “You’re so different now”… “You’re so Godly” or even “what’s happened to you? Is everything O.k ?
I assure you, I so often feel like I fight with most probably more demons within than most of all the Christians I know put together! I fight minutely at times. But, you know, if you want something in life, you don’t just sit on your backside expecting miracles to happen…
Even if you got no other option (due to perhaps ill health, chronic pain, immobility, poverty, other circumstances where one must lay low and hibernate)… there is always a most blessed thing called PRAYER!
Prayer is a work that is invaluable for the New Creature mind. Praying for another may even be one of the greatest gifts one can give another.
Pray produces more satisfying joy and blessed outcomes than anything else in a follower of Christ’s life because it connects us with our Creator and our Beloved Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, our Bridegroom and what more valuable in our lives, than spending time communicating with our Creator and His Son, who are both PERFECT in ever sense of the word and UNDERSTAND us, which, no human on earth can.
Following Jesus doesn’t just happen over night…
CHRIST-likeness is a bi-product of a relationship with God. It’s the best relationship you can and will ever have!
Your hunger for God will determine the extent to which you lay down your life, heart and mind and daily surrender not just MORE of self, but ALL of self for ALL OF THEE—the LORD GOD.
It’s in that quiet place where you will meet revelation for those you love as much as comfort in your grief.
One’s relationship with God is the ultimate intimate, best, most safest, happiest relationship I think anyone could ever have. It’s a connection so tight that none of one’s thoughts would wish to be not of GOD if that were humanly possible. Here there is a withdrawal of self-ego, self-indulgence, the laying out of mess, the exuberant gratitude, the processing of hurts, where a child of God can come into the presence of God—kneel before him and talk… talk for as long as needed, and knowing that GOD hears us.
In 1 John chapter 5 we read,
“10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.
11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
15 And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him.”
You know, when we do something that shows God how much we adore our own Creator, the day becomes kaleidoscopic in colour.
It’s only when we make time for our Heavenly Father, that we discover what treasures unfold from within that secret place with Him.
God draws closer to those who show they NEED HIM THE MOST. In James 4:8 it says,
“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”
Silence is a gateway to the soul and the soul a gateway to God.
Go to your secret place before you go to anyone else.
My tiny pea brain could never summarize the greatness or mystery of God, so that secret place is the proper place to ask Him questions (Psalm 147:5).
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).
WE ARE living in a terrible time, and yet a wonderful time. It is a terrible time because we see before our very eyes a world collapsing and disintegrating. It is a wonderful time because we are on the very threshold of the mediatorial kingdom of God when all nations shall be blessed. It is a time tersely described in Haggai:
“For thus saith the Lord of Hosts: Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come” (Haggai 2:6,7).
It is indeed ironic that at the time of the greatest increase of knowledge, when giant strides have been made in the arts of medicine, science of all kinds, rapid travel, instant communication, psychology, human relations and statesmanship — skills which one would think would knit the nations closer together — it is ironic that this time of man’s greatest attainment, which normally should result in his greatest security, should precisely be the time of greatest insecurity and fear! Nothing seems to be working right for the leaders of the world. Old formulae no longer seem to apply. Painstaking plans, based upon the experience of centuries, no longer work as intended but often have the opposite effect.
All the nations will soon realize that things are as they are because the Lord’s hand is in it, that his voice is being heard (See Jeremiah 25:30-32).
When fear and terror are felt, the first human impulse is to flee, to get away, to find a secure place and hide from the danger. As the time of trouble, which has already started, starts to escalate, the fulfillment of more and more prophecies of the Bible will occur. In Isaiah 2:19-21, symbolic language is used to describe how men will try to find shelter and security in various human cooperative schemes. Mountains are governments; hills are lesser worldly organizations of various kinds (R592, R267, R716, R511). Hosea says, “They shall say to the mountains, Cover us, and to the hills, Fall on us [or over us]” (Hosea 10:8). Jesus repeated this prophecy when he referred to these last days: “Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, fall on us; and to the hills, cover us” (Luke 23:30; Revelation 6:15).
Will there be an escape for mankind when the times of trouble reach a climax? Will they find refuge from the Lord’s wrath? Jeremiah answers:
“Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:24).
No, they will not escape. But we know it is all for a benevolent purpose. All selfish human schemes must be discredited and eliminated to make way for the full establishment of God’s glorious kingdom on earth.
The scriptures indicate that the final and most severe phase of the time of trouble will not come until the body of Christ is complete. This is brought out in Revelation:
“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God, and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed; and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand” (Revelation 7:1-4).
So does this mean that we will escape the entire time of trouble?
Well, we are in it now since 1914 (see Daniel chapter 12) and it is worsening every day. But unlike the world, we are not afraid, we are not terror-stricken because we have a refuge the world does not know about, a safe and secure hiding place which the Lord has provided for us. He invites us to enter into it, particularly at the present time when the old world is being removed to make way for the new, when governments are being shaken and overthrown, when mankind is getting restless and rebellious. Having entered in, we have no fear of what is going on about us.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof”(Psalm 46:1-3).
Doesn’t that describe the present time precisely?
Psalm 32 describes our God:
“Thou art my hiding place. Thou shalt preserve me from trouble. Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7).
Does this mean that we will be miraculously preserved from every physical aspect of the time of trouble? If there are food shortages, will we have an abundance? If war decrees the restraining of human liberties, will we remain free? If the atmosphere is polluted with atomic and other poisons, will we breathe pure air?
Of course not! These things, affecting only the fleshly body, are comparatively inconsequential. It is in the things that really matter that we will be preserved. Even in famine there will continue to be an abundance of spiritual food. It will not be rationed. We will continue to “stand fast … in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free”-free from human creeds and concepts (Galatians 5:1).
Even in a disordered and disintegrating world, even in lawlessness and anarchy, nothing will be permitted to happen to the “called out” of this world (1 Peter 2:9) — that is not for their highest spiritual welfare. Although we walk about and intermingle with our neighbours, sharing their hardships, in reality we will be segregated, in a secret place where no real harm can befall us, where everything we really need is supplied. (Psalm 91)
Where is this wonderful “secret place”?
It is not a locality, but a condition. It is a relationship, a standing before the Lord, a condition of consecration and acceptance, a condition of justification and spirit-begettal, it is a living with the Lord. Jesus described this condition:
“If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23).
It doesn’t make any difference where we live, or where we go; we can still be in that “secret place.” David sang of it in Psalm 139:7-10:
“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in the grave, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”
No matter where we are physically or geographically, we can still be safe and secure “in the secret place of the Most High.” What a great and unusual privilege this is!
“O how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man. Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues” (Psalms 31:19,20).
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion; in the secret of his
tabernacle shall he hide me. He shall set me up upon a rock” (Psalms 27:4,5).
This seems contradictory. It seems to say that we are hidden from view in a secret place and yet set up, in full view, upon a rock. But it is all beautifully harmonious to those who understand the symbols.
We are members of God’s household, of those who are justified and spirit-begotten. This precious relationship is firmly based upon the rock, Christ Jesus. This stone and its power to protect and preserve is referred to as: “Elect, precious; and he that believeth on him should not be confounded” (1 Peter 2:6).
It is through Jesus — the world’s ransom and saviour and the Church’s advocate — that a relationship with God is established and maintained. This is how we come into and remain in the secret of God’s Tabernacle. There is no other sure refuge or defense at this time.
“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock, and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation, and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge is in God” (Psalm 62:5-8).
“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the Lord is my rock; in him will I trust. He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation; my high tower, and my refuge; my saviour. Thou savest me from violence” (2 Samuel 22:2,3).
Compared with the frantic scurrying of the world to find peace and safety, how wonderfully blessed we are. We are safe and secure in the secret place of the Most High.
Value your secret place as if it’s your ONLY POSSESSION worth fighting for and dying for. That relationship with God and Jesus cannot be taught, it must be hungered for.
It’s all about giving our TIME time to God.
God wants to spend time with us. He longs to hear what is on our hearts; sharing our hearts with HIM is the foundation of intimacy. As we do that, our Heavenly Father shares HIS WILL and HIS DESIRES for us, with us.
Listen out for God’s every word…
“Blessed [is] the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors, For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD (Proverbs 8:34-35).
Living in God’s presence is where the mind is basically consumed with thinking about God and about His Son Jesus and wanting to do anything and everything to be like His Son Jesus, in order to make God well pleased.
Pleasing God by striving to obeying God in all things, in our way of showing appreciation for HIS PERFECT LOVE which really, is the foundation for existence!
In Psalms 61 and Psalm 57 the Psalmist David mentions about our refuge being under “the shadow of God’s wings” in God’s Tabernacle.
These beautiful illustrations of assurance, encourage us to enter and dwell in the secret place of the Most High, separating ourselves from and rising above the turmoil that is on every side. The Lord invites us to do this:
“Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee. Hide thyself, as it were, for a little moment until the indignation be overpast” (Isaiah 26:20).
This wonderful condition is a real and tangible thing. We are totally and entirely surrounded by the power of God in this “secret place of the Most High. “Behind and before hast thou hedged me in, and thou placest upon me, thy hand” (Psalm 139:5, Leeser).
Sometimes we tend to forget that we are in this secret place and become frightened at the uncertain conditions of the world about us. We become panicky like Peter, seeking to walk on the water, who, when he saw the boisterous, wind-tossed sea, began to sink, crying, “Lord save me!” (Matthew 14:30)
When this happens to us there IS a door we can use to again enter our secret place.
“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet [or private room], and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father who seeth in secret, and thy Father, who seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:6).
This is like the frightened child who runs to its mother to be enfolded safely in her arms: “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).
OK so now it’s time to go talk to God… really talk without any rehersal script… no performed worship thing, just taking ourselves onto our knees (if possible), and somewhere where we can be in quiet stillness with our mind, escaping to the throne room of our Heavenly Father in the Divine Realm place, and there, “be still” (Psalm 46:10).
“He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him” (Daniel 2:22) .
Here is a beautiful hymn I recently discovered. The lyrics are by Ellen Lakshmi Goreh (1853-1937). Goreh, Ellen Lakshmi was the daughter of the Rev. Nehemiah Goreh, a Christian convert who was born. at Benares, Sept. 11, 1853. Her mother died the same year, and the child was adopted first by a Mr. Smailes. Through the Mutiny in 1857 Mr. Smailes lost his property, and the child was then taken into the family of the Rev. W. T. Storrs and brought to England, where she was educated, and resided until 1880, when she returned to India to take up mission work with her own countrywomen where she published “From India’s Coral Strand: Hymns of Christian Faith .” The best known of these hymns is In the Secret of His Presence :
In the secret of His presence
How my soul delights to hide!
Oh, how precious are the lessons
Which I learn at Jesus’ side!
Earthly cares can never vex me,
’Neath the shadow of His wing
There is cool and pleasant shelter,
And a fresh and crystal spring;
And my Savior rests beside me,
As we hold communion sweet;
If I tried, I could not utter
What He says when thus we meet.
Only this I know: I tell Him
All my doubts and griefs and fears;
Oh, how patiently He listens!
And my drooping soul He cheers;
Do you think He ne’er reproves me?
What a false friend He would be,
If He never, never told me
Of the sins which He must see.
Would you like to know that sweetness
Of the secret of the Lord?
Go and hide beneath His shadow;
This shall then be your reward;
And whene’er you leave the silence
Of that happy meeting-place,
By the Spirit bear the image
Of the Master in your face.
(Repeat the last line of each stanza)