God Can Be Found In The Strangest Places

If you find me in a freshly cleaned room, dimly lit lights with instrumental music quietly playing in the background, while drinking my favorite beverage (any guesses), reading a book, you know that I’m in a VERY.GOOD.PLACE. A place somewhere deep inside my thoughts and reflections. A place where “God is”. A place of comfort and refuge.

Your “place” might be getting on your favorite sneakers and going for a run. It could be the company and conversation of your best girl-friend, who always draws you in. Maybe journaling, writing down your thoughts and prayers leads you to that place of quietness and peace. For others of you it is doing, creating…working that allows you to “find God”. Yet, for others it could be the sweaty rigors of physical work and exercise. And believe it or not, some of you even find refreshment in the presence of the crowd. It is the party that energizes your soul.

Oftentimes it is difficult to find a place of refuge and safety. A place of rest and comfort, of warmth and peace. A place where “God is”. Yes, I know theologically that God is omnipresent, everywhere at the same time in all of His fulness. But, I (we) don’t always experience Him being there. For some He is in the crowd and others He is in the quiet corner.

The different ways that we “experience God”  and His rest was highlighted for me about two months ago. My wife, Robyn was away speaking at a women’s event in Virginia, I believe. I was at home with Rhesa and Ryland, trying to create an atmosphere of controlled quietness and solitude ☺…for in this I find God. As I settled in my bed with my music playing, reading glasses on and a book in hand, having just fluffed my pillows and adjusted the perfect sitting up position, the mood was broken by the ringing of the phone. It was my lovely wife. She was in this incredible Bed and Breakfast located in a historic place. All by herself…no kids…no husband…no people. A dream, right? No, for her a nightmare. She was calling me because it was too quiet…too remote…too creepy. We all need a little peace and quiet, but for Robyn, an hour or two is enough. She finds her refuge, her “hiding place” in the midst of community.

The Psalmist, David experienced God, as his hiding place, somewhere that I would have never imagined to find Him. He says in Psalm 32:7

“You are a hiding place for me;

You preserve me from trouble;

You surround me with shouts of deliverance.”  Selah

You would think the context of this declaration would be while running from Saul or some other enemy. I could even imagine him saying this in the midst of battle. But that is not the context of this song. He found that God’s presence was his protection, provision and victory. Where?

David, found God to be his victorious hiding place in the context of confession and forgiveness. This Psalm is believed to be David’s experience after sinning with Bathsheba. He hid his sin and held onto it and this Psalm expresses that. David felt the consequences of unconfessed sin through physical fatigue and depression:

“For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;

My strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.”

David certainly knew the emotional and physical toll that hidden sin can take on one’s life. But he also knew the relief and blessing that comes with confession and forgiveness. Look at stanzas 1,2 and 5

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

5 I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

It is after his acknowledgement and confession of sin that he experienced the presence of God as his hiding place, his protection and victory. David, was lifted high to a place of security by the grace and forgiveness of God. God cleansed him, covered his sin, erased his iniquity. David experienced God in a new and fresh way.

You may feel a lack of God’s presence in your own life. There may be many factors but could it be that sin is “covering  it up”? Are you hiding it from Him? David’s life encourages us to:

  1. Don’t Hide Your Sin: Stop pretending that it’s not there and ignoring its loud voice. Don’t keep silent about it, as David said. Expose your sin. Confess it, agree with God how wretched it is.
  2. Don’t Hold onto Your Sin: Some of you won’t confess because you want to continue in  sin. Let it go. Others of you, hold onto your sin because you feel unworthy.  Feeling like you need to pay for your sin. “I can’t confess it, because I am unworthy of forgiveness. I must ‘do something’ in order to show I am sorry. What Pride! God has made provision for your sin through Christ. He did it already! Confess it and rest in God’s forgiveness

David found that God was his hiding place, his place of safety and refuge. His place of victory from and over sin. Are you experiencing Him in that way as well.

So no matter how well I craft an atmosphere with music and lights, I’ve discovered that there is no place…no hiding place… like that of confession and forgiveness, for God Is There!