Rough bark scraped across the man’s bare chest as he rushed to crouch in the gathering darkness of the trees. An unfamiliar sense of guilt threatened to suffocate the man. His frantic attempts to cover himself had failed to ease his shame, just as the thin veil of dusk did nothing now to stifle his panic. With every beat of his heart, the man felt the urge to hide hammering throughout him. Suddenly, he held his breath.
“Adam, where are you?”
And so began our long history of hiding.
Adam and Eve hid from God in the Garden of Eden, and all of humankind since then has shared in this hiding. In shame and in fear, we hide from God in spirit and from one another in soul.
Yet we were not made for hiding; we were made to be known. We long desperately to be known–fully known–and to be loved in the knowing. Despairing, though, of finding someone who will both know us well and love us well, we cling to our places of hiding, hoping that these will be safe, even if solitary.
When we were enemies of God, hiding was consistent with our position as lovers of darkness. But then the unexpected happened: the Son of God entered the darkness with us. He took our reasons for hiding and made them His own. As Christ became hidden from God in death, our reasons for hiding were destroyed.
There is, therefore, now no need to hide (Romans 8:1).
Our shame and guilt have been swallowed up by Christ Himself, and our fear is dissipated in the light of His intense love.
But even now, as friends of God, we hide from Him. To our own immense loss and to God’s great sorrow, we hide. In busyness, niceness, denial, and noise, we hide.
When invited to open ourselves in honest self-disclosure before God, we cry out, “But, Lord, there will be a terrible stench!” Just as Martha was afraid to open the tomb of Lazarus, so we fear opening to God areas in our lives that we have preferred to conceal. But to keep them closed to God means that those areas will suffer increasing decay.
However, when we are willing to open these places to the Lord, then the infinite kindness and power of God work miraculous healing in our tombs of rebellion and tombs of grief.
As surely as Jesus called to Lazarus, so He calls to us to come out.
We are invited to come out into the light of freedom, where we may be released from our life-stifling wrappings of fear and shame.
The deep longing of our hearts to be known is not unique to us as men and women, nor is it random. It comes by deliberate design, for it reveals the very heart of the One in whose image we have been made: it is the deep longing of God Himself to be known and to be loved in the knowing. This is the stunning message of Scripture.