I can be out in the world speaking about the Lord. I can teach in venues that I am invited to. I can share with brothers and sisters and love my neighbor as myself.
But, how am I acting in hiddeness, with the people that I profess to love and cherish the most?
Do I say things like…”that’s just the way I am”. Do I rely on their forgiveness and acceptance, while getting sloppy with living out my faith? Do I think, “Well they will always be there, no matter what?”
What would the proverbial fly on the wall see?
I was thinking of the late Henri Nouwen, who was a renowned speaker, theologian and author.
He was very much in demand and highly esteemed.
He spoke, all over the world, in places like the Menninger Foundation, University of Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard.
Yet, in his last 11 years, he was hidden in a place, called L’Arche in Toronto. Most of that time, was as a caretaker, of a young man, named Adam.
His decision to do this, was met with confusion and objections. How could this brilliant man “waste time” at L’Arche, when he could be out in the world ministering to many?
Adam had very limited physical abilities. He didn’t speak. Henri devoted his days to care for, bathe and shave and show Adam the raw love of Jesus. Yet Henri says, Adam taught him about Jesus, even likening him Adam to Jesus.
I thought about my life.
Living the life of Christ, amongst my family members, is hidden in a sense. I have to ask, does how I act a home, match the public persona that others see in me?
I had a rather comical incident happen, a few weeks ago. When I say comical, it was a situation in which I imagine God said “I gotcha!”
I was driving with my two young grandchildren. I approached a familiar intersection. I knew I needed to get into the left lane.
However, the line of traffic in that lane was unusually long. I assumed that there was a car turning left into a restaurant, causing the tie up. I proceed to go into the right lane, so I could get ahead of the blocking car.
As I went forward, I realized “Whoops! I was mistaken. Of course now I am in the wrong lane.
I thought…”not to worry” because the cars to my left were stopped, waiting for the light. I was sure a good soul would let me in. I stopped parallel to a car and looked over at the driver. He looked directly at me. I signaled that I would like to get in front of him. He then stared ahead, grasping the steering wheel in an almost defiant manner.
I was chagrined! My reasoning was “’well I would let him cut in”.
However, his eyes were set as a flint. The car behind me honked, but simultaneously the light changed. The traffic started to move and the person behind the “rude” driver let me in.
We inched forward and the traffic light turned red. He was stuck at the light. Inside I was thinking “see… where did that get you?”
Then, I saw the metal fish on the back of the car, indicating that he was a Christian.
I voiced my opinion out loud of his driving and character and added “and YOU are a Christian???”
Everyone needs honest people around them who can tell the truth in love. Sometimes though, you will say “Ouch!”
Young children and grandchildren can nicely fit the bill. They will offer their opinions, which are quite honest. They lack the maturity to know if they are being offensive though.
My grandchildren were quiet. When the light changed, I went on. I continued to mumble about the man’s faith. Then, up popped the voice of
“Yes Granny, but you called that man a __________!”
I was stunned, embarrassed and convicted all at once.
I apologized to them, telling them I was so sorry that I acted that way. I told them how wrong I was. I repeated again how sorry I was.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be double minded. Thinking and acting one way with the outside world ,and another way, that is hidden from others.
Hidden…. that is from some…but not ever hidden from God.
I thank God, He is the kind of dad who, rather than shaming me, convicted me. I pictured Him scooching down, waiting with opened arms, as I ran to Him.
And THAT… is the best place to hide!