In the first blog about secrecy we explored God’s secret place discovering our need to dwell and abide because it is safe, secure, and protected. The second blog is about what we find in His secret place! While writing on this subject I have spent a lot of time exploring the secret place, thinking how amazing it is, how remarkable it is to dwell and abide there, how incredible it is to be protected in the secret, and how marvelous it is discover His goodness there! In the midst of all the discovering, I realized how difficult it is to stay in the secret place while our lives are going a thousand miles an hour, demanding our time and attention. Not only that, but throughout this secret exploration I have been battling a physical attack. For weeks my mind was muddled with cloudiness and I could barely think straight because of pain yet I knew I must find God in the midst of my struggle. The extreme pain, sorrow, and uncertainty about what was happening to me clouded all I knew to be Truth. And though I refused to change His truth to fit my circumstances, I did become weary and almost frantic to see His truth reign in my life. Anyone who has had to overcome physical pain understands its torment and the desperation one feels to be free of that pain which overwhelms like hammering waves to a shoreline. It was “in” this torrent of pain and accompanying emotions that God revealed more to me about His secret place!
I needed to find God in the secret place yet I felt so helpless to seek Him! During this time of duress I fought demons of doubt, feeling forsaken at times, wondering where God was and why He was not relieving the pain. At times I cried out to Him and other times I cried because of the pain. Each day was another battle just to keep standing! And finally, I heard the Lord answer my cries with tears of His own. You see, God takes no delight in our pain and suffering. Yet He is bound by His Word which says we will face trials, tribulations and even persecutions in this lifetime. He will bring us through, He will carry us, heal us, and lead us but the effects of living in a sin-ridden world do not suddenly disappear when we believe in Jesus Christ. God doesn’t prevent all bad things from happening to us but He does protect us as we go through! And so it felt at times as though God and I cried together as I hung on to Him in hope. I also had people praying and believing for and with me as we persevered and stood in faith in the Faithful One!
When at last I was “through” the worst of the pain and continued to seek the Lord for understanding of this latest ordeal, I read in Deuteronomy 4 how God scattered the Israelites because they had done evil and provoked Him to anger. Verses 24-28 “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. When you beget children and grandchildren and have grown old in the land, and act corruptly and make a carved image in the form of anything, and do evil in the sight of the Lord your God to provoke Him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you will soon utterly perish from the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess; you will not prolong your days in it, but will be utterly destroyed. And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you. And there you will gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell.”
At first I didn’t understand why God was magnifying this section of Scripture to me. After all, I know He is a jealous God and a consuming fire which is one of the reasons I fear Him night and day and I didn’t think I was acting like the Israelites did by doing evil, acting corruptly, or making idols. But Holy Spirit didn’t let me leave this Scripture until I identified with God’s people. He showed me that surely I do things that cause the Lord to be jealous when I am consumed with things of this world. Surely I sin, thinking evil and doing wrong bringing dishonor to Jesus. Surely I have done corrupt things to benefit myself or family. Surely my priorities are often misaligned (that is putting it nicely) making family, friends, leisure activities, technology, or entertainment idols in life. Surely I am guilty of the same things as the Israelites! I felt scattered and destroyed as I struggled alone in body, mind, and spirit. How could I stand before God inferring I had done nothing close to what the Israelites had thinking I was undeserving of this pain and torment? I couldn’t! So I didn’t! I simply cried out to Him, longing to find Him in the secret place even more! Then Holy Spirit told me to keep reading!
Verses 29-31 “BUT from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.”
Ah, now that is good news! “From there!” From the place of pain, torment, misalignment and in the midst of sin and degradation; from there I will seek the Lord my God AND I will find Him if I seek Him with my whole heart and soul (my mind, my will, and my emotions). When I was in distress and all the hardships came upon me; it is from there I turn to the Lord and obey, trusting in His mercy. It is from there I know He WILL NOT forsake me. It is from there I know He WILL NOT destroy me! It is from there I know He WILL NOT forget the covenant He has made to me. It is from there I will remember to seek Him in His secret place, return to Him, abide under Him, dwell with Him, trust Him, and delight myself in Him!
The secret place is easy to imagine if we relegate it to some spiritual place “out there” we go to at our whim or will. But it is not so easy to reside in the secret place when circumstances swirl around us, confusing and distracting us, especially when we know Satan does everything to keep us out of the secret place through his attacks to steal, kill, and destroy. The difficulty of finding the secret place in the midst of pain caused me to ask some questions: Is it just a “spiritual” symbolic place we meet with God when we pray? Is it “anywhere” we choose to meet with God? Is it just a private place where I go to “in my head”? Even though we do meet God in the secret “spiritually speaking” because we worship in spirit and in truth, the secret place is so much more and I stumbled on its exact location as I was reading Matthew 6.
There we are told three times about our Father in the secret place and how He sees in secret. Verse 4 “…and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” Verse 6 “…pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” Verse 18 “…but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” We also know with all certainty that our Father resides in heaven according to verses 1, 9 “…otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven….Our Father who art in heaven…” Putting the secret place verses together with our Father in heaven verses reveals the secret place where our Father “is” and “sees” – HEAVEN! Yes, heaven is His secret place!
But no worries! We don’t have to die physically to get to the secret place! Though our eternity in heaven is going to be incredible and “out of this world” we get to share in the secret place with God now! It will take the rest of our lives both here and in heaven to discover ALL we want to know about the secret place so we might as well use our time wisely. Right here, right now we can get comfortable in the secret place by worshipping in spirit and truth. After all, our heavenly Father is looking for Spirit and truth worshippers. Knowing that He is seeking such people makes me want Him to find me faithful, yes? John 4:23-24 “But an hour is coming and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Beloved, the secret place is found as we worship in the Spirit! Oh, how incredible are His Spirit truths! We gain access to the secret place, to heaven, where our Father is and sees, through His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus! Because of the sacrifice Jesus made through shedding His blood, dying, and rising again, we have the privilege of possessing citizenship in the secret place! Yep! That would be heaven!
To help us grasp the reality of this think about citizenship in the natural. When we are citizens of a particular city, state, or country we possess certain rights and privileges from that place. We speak the language, are familiar with its customs, and even thinking about it makes us feel “at home” even when we are absent in body. The first few years of our marriage my husband and I moved often because of seminary training living in Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin. We got home to Minnesota to visit as often as possible. Our reaction was always the same when we saw the sign “Welcome to Minnesota”! We would smile, look at each other, and exclaim “We’re home. It feels so good.” We were always overcome with contentment and peace just being back! Then a few years ago we traveled to Papua New Guinea to preach the Gospel. After a long and fruitful trip, as we were coming through U.S. customs. I found myself both nervous and giddy as we approached the customs officer wanting to be on the other side of him as soon as possible. After he checked passports, asked a few questions, and they looked through luggage, I heard the words that melted my heart – “Welcome Home”! Tears filled my eyes as I realized even with all the problems we have here in the United States, this is my home where I maintain citizenship and possess certain rights and privileges I did not have anywhere else I traveled.
Friends, our citizenship in heaven is no different. When we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, follow after Him, doing His will, being His disciples, become children of God, we have all the rights and privileges of heaven! Presently, we reside on earth but we possess all the rights and privileges of heaven as a result of our inheritance! We speak God’s language, we are familiar with His will and ways, and we feel at home with God in His secret place. Surely those words “Welcome Home!” when we see Him face to face one day will be thrilling but we must not wait to enjoy our citizenship in heaven. Philippians 3:18-21 “…that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things, for our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”
So think of the secret place as going home! Set your mind on heavenly things so that when you get busy with life you remember where home really is and take great joy in your heavenly citizenship and Who you get to see every time you go to the secret place! And no matter how rough life gets you can still be in the secret place with God and He will take you through! Count on Him!