by Monica Pankratz
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Pic by Ben Blenner Photography
Sometimes I will take my feelings, my personality, and my soul, and I will hide within myself from the world. I hide away in my heart, void of any reality, my eyes shut...safe and comfortable. Why? Because in a small irrational way I feel more at ease alone in darkness than I do facing whatever struggle is at hand in the light.
When I cannot seem to find a solution to a problem, I like to escape. When a disagreement seemingly has no hope of agreement, I will tiptoe backwards into my cave. When someone has something bad to tell me and I simply do not want to hear it, I will shut down and my senses go dark. This of course is a defense mechanism, although an ineffective one. Sure, it buys me some time, but it brings no hope.
Not so long ago I was in my dark hiding place, sense-less, alone, going through the motions; when the motions of life landed me at a ministry event with loads of people I did not know; perfect for a cave dweller - ha. It felt for a moment like my natural circumstances were a close mirror image to my soul - alone and unknown; until I heard God. In a moment when my eyes were closed, the eyes of my heart saw a small light outside of my inner darkness, and I felt God motion to my soul, "You are safe Monica. Come into the light with me." This broke my sense-less and secluded heart in that beautiful - disastrous sort of way, and the light flooded my soul. Light - Life - the Spirit of God - Love; call it what you want, nothing on earth compares to Him! In that moment He changed my heart, and my thoughts and actions followed.
Shortly after that God encounter, I was reminded of Elijah the prophet in the Bible passage - 1 Kings 18:16 - 1 Kings 19:19. Elijah boldly declared God's sovereignty in a worldly culture and he did great exploits in the name of the living God. But when the enemy came after him personally, he ran for his life and hid in a cave until the voice of God called him out of the darkness, and spoke to him; not in a blazing fire, nor a violent earthquake, nor powerful winds, but God spoke to Elijah in a still small voice that gave him hope, direction, and instruction.
We waste precious moments when we hide away in the darkness of our hearts. Whether or not our reasons are rooted in fear, shame, or pride, the truth is we need out. We need the Lord to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. I for one am over hiding. How about you? No more hiding!
My prayer is "Lord do what only you can do, show light in our darkness and speak to our hearts in your still small voice. No more hiding, we are free to live in your marvelous light led by your love and wisdom, in the incomparable name of Jesus alone, we believe!"
In the light of and connection to Jesus we find the intimate secret place, not a lonely hiding place. In the secret place with Him, we find the security, the confidence, and the peace that we so desperately need. I find it ironic that we attempt to create this environment for ourselves in darkness, when it is in God's authentic place of refuge that we access His authentic provision. Where will you take refuge: in escape, or in His refreshing Presence? in hiding or in the secret place with Him?
I encourage you, take a moment (now and regularly). Close your eyes and open your heart. If you are hiding alone in the dark recesses of your heart, let God speak, let Him lead you into the light, and minister to your deepest needs. He has an overflowing abundance of love, mercy, and grace waiting just for you.