If you ever have trouble finding me, chances are I’m on a piano bench.
I like hiding behind a piano. It’s a familiar place I’ve known since childhood. A piano — even a small one — is a massive instrument, an actual physical barrier between me and the rest of the world. It just feels safe.
I often joke about how I spent my childhood on a piano bench. Thing is, it’s true.
But then there was an exciting time in my life when I blossomed, when I rose from the piano bench and emerged from behind the instrument. I walked onto stages and belted music from my soul, my voice reverberating and my eyes full of sparkle. I used to soak up the spotlight like sunshine.
Singing became my happy place. I sang well and often. I won awards and scholarships and my confidence never faltered.
Until battles commenced and I got wounded, deep down in my spirit. I still bear scars from fighting a war I never asked to fight.
In my weakness, I retreated to a quieter place that I might be healed and restored. I returned to my timeworn shield.
I hid behind my piano.
Plenty of people regard a piano as a mere piece of furniture. For me, though, it became not only my fortress in time of distress, but my voice as well.
When life’s anxiety curled me into a fetal position, my piano was my dearest comfort. It was a place where I could be me. A safe place to hide and receive God’s comfort and embrace, but still express myself creatively.
When You’re Too Exhausted to Do Anything But Hide
There’s a story in the Bible about Elijah and this great victory he experiences, so great that his life is threatened by the king. Elijah flees into the desert, exhausted, emotionally drained, and ready to give up completely.
And though he can barely lift his head, God ministers to him, nourishing him and restoring his soul and his tired body. Eventually Elijah is able to return and finish the work God has prepared for him.
When I was in hiding I felt ashamed.
I kicked myself for not being able to “snap out of it,” for not just “sucking it up” and manufacturing some false bravery. But all my spiritual and emotional stores were depleted. A retreat was necessary, even though it seemed — to me, at least — like a horrible waste of time.
But here’s what I learned about hiding places.
It’s in these secret, hidden places where God does miraculous work in our lives. When we’re flattened out before him, unable to go on, helpless and utterly drained of all our own resources, this is when the impossible happens.
Perhaps you’ve been driven to a hiding place as well.
Maybe the wounds you’ve suffered have caused you to retreat within yourself, to hide your true pain behind the façade of “just fine,” to withdraw from certain people, places or things.
I want you to know it’s okay. Because you are not hidden from God. He is there with you, no matter where you hide. There is nowhere you can go where He will not follow.
He doesn’t intend for you to stay hidden forever, but while you’re there, he wants to walk with you, guide you, meet your needs, and lead you into greater understanding and trust.
This is what the psalmist meant when he wrote,
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.“
When I was in my hidden place, I experienced a huge identity crisis. I didn’t know who I was anymore. The piano was the only familiar thing I could hold on to.
And yet, as painful as it was, it was precisely the hidden, secret place where God wanted me so he could teach me to rely upon him.
Barbara Brown Taylor, in her memoir Leaving Church, says this:
You only need to lose track of who you are, or who you thought you were supposed to be, so that you end up lying flat on the dirt floor basement of your heart. Do this, Jesus says, and you will live.”
Lose your life to find it. Lose sight of your identity that you might find it in Christ.
The Places Where We Hide
If life’s left you battered and unable to move forward, maybe you need a hiding place where you might be restored and healed.
The places where we hide aren’t meant to be prison cells or death sentences. They’re more like the damp dark earth, where tiny seeds lie, awaiting the time when new growth will spring forth.
You may be hidden, but — just like a seed buried in the ground — you are very much alive.
Will you let God breathe his spirit of life into you today? Will you invite him into your hiding place and let his healing hands restore you?
And will you share with me your own experiences of hiding? When was a time in your life when you retreated to a “hidden place” with God and experienced restoration? Tell me about it in the comments below.