This morning I was reading my devotional “When the Lights Go Out” by Graham Cooke. My friend Kevin told me about it and I got it for my men’s group. The sub title is “Surprising Growth When God Is Hidden”. What does that mean?
Cooke talks about manifestation versus hiddenness. “Manifestation is about experiencing all that God is doing. Hiddenness is about possessing the things of God through His Word by faith. During times of hiddenness, you must learn to rely on the promises that God has made to you through the Bible.”
As Christians we all have times of manifestation when we are experiencing God. We feel blessed and filled to the top with the good things of God. However we also have times of hiddenness and in those times we can slip away from God because this is not what we expected. We want God to give us a sign and tell us what to do. We don’t want to go searching in the desert. Hiddenness is not something we seek, yet God uses times of hiddenness to train us and develop us.
Cooke says “Hiddenness is where we start to process deep truth.” In other words we can hear truth, read truth and talk about truth, but to process and understand truth God hides himself, so that we seek wisdom and truth at a deeper level. The disciples did not understand much of what Jesus was teaching while he was with them. They had certain thoughts and expectations about His coming Kingdom. It wasn’t until Jesus died and was resurrected and then ascended that they got it. When they no longer had Him with them, they began to understand what He was showing them.
We don’t gain spiritual maturity by gaining more knowledge about the Bible. It comes from gaining Godly, not earthly wisdom and that comes when we learn to be with God even in hiddenness.
I sometimes hear the question about how can I go deeper spiritually? Be careful what you are asking for. A time of hiddenness may be coming. If you really want to go deeper in your walk with God then start doing what the Bible says. Are you tithing? Are you giving above the tithe? Are you serving in your local church? Are you helping others in your community? Have you fasted lately? Are you in a small group? Are you investing in a non believer? Are you investing in a believer that is not as far along as you? Have you gone on a mission trip? Have you forgiven everyone that has hurt you? Have you confessed to all the people that you have hurt? Are your relationships healthy? Is anyone holding you accountable? Are you content with what you have? Are you using your spiritual gifts for God? Are you using your painful experiences to help others that are going through a similar situation? Is your daily time with God a priority?
Going deep means getting your hands dirty. It means seeking God with all your heart even when you don’t feel His presence. It means developing internally and becoming more like Jesus in your Character. In times of hiddenness God is wanting to teach us about changing our heart toward Him.