The Christian life is not to be withdrawn. We have lives to live for Christ, work to do, ministry to perform, and a witness to bear. Our Savior expects and commands us to be fully engaged in this world for His glory. But we are mere men – “handfuls of animated dust” – and there are many pressures and storms in this life. God is our hiding place because we will often need one.
I call the place sitrî– “my hiding place” in Hebrew. It is a secluded embankment at the edge of a pond, about a ten-minute walk through the woods from my house. In my daily struggle to be more like Christ, who “often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:16), I go there as often as I can to meet the Lord in prayer. The place itself is easy to find; it is the Lord Himself who is my true hiding place. This is a shared blessing that all believers have in Him.
David calls the Lord “my hiding place’ (Psalm 32:7; 119:14), and his Psalms are rich with the imagery of being hidden in the Lord (17:8; 31:20). David often had need for a tangible hiding place when he was persecuted, but with the eyes of faith he could see that his true spiritual solace came only from the Lord Himself. David’s other metaphors for God (shield, tower, fortress) picture His protection, but “a hiding place” is different. It is a secret and private refuge, shared by no one else, away from the world and its turmoil. It is where a believer can go to find rest for the mind and spirit in the privacy of personal communion with the living God.
People often talk of “getting away” when the pressures and worries of life become great, and they devise all kinds of temporary escapes from their stressful routines. There are a thousand different ways that people try to hide themselves from the cares of this world, hoping that they will be better equipped to deal with them after a little time away. The need for an occasional vacation is one thing, but there is a real spiritual need that corresponds with this notion of “getting away.” At times, the believer does need to take flight from the world, but this is not a flight away from reality with false hopes of escaping it. Instead, it is a flight back to the one most basic reality of all. We have the privilege of fleeing to the Lord Himself as our hiding place.
The Christian life is not to be withdrawn. We have lives to live for Christ, work to do, ministry to perform, and a witness to bear. Our Savior expects and commands us to be fully engaged in this world for His glory. But we are mere men – “handfuls of animated dust” – and there are many pressures and storms in this life. God is our hiding place because we will often need one. To take the Lord as your hiding place is to go to Him and be still, undisturbed, and undistracted, and to set Him only before your mind and soul, letting everything else wait.
We do this first of all through prayer. Christ counseled us to go to our rooms, shut our doors, and pray to our Father who is in the secret place (Matt 6:6). That “secret place” of prayer was precious to Christ, and He counseled us to go to it often, as He did (Luke 5:16). Regular, personal, secret communion with God through prayer is one way we take Him as our hiding place.
Another way to hide ourselves in the Lord is through His word. Psalm 119:14 says, “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word,” conjoining the solace of our divine hiding place and the comfort to be had from the Scriptures. Having the Lord as our hiding place is a mounting experience as we not only read the Scriptures but fully place our hope in His Word.