Being known and acknowledged feels good, doesn’t it? This is the very thing I seek to impart to my three year old granddaughter. The last thing in the world I want her to sense, is that she is somehow anonymous and unseen. Yet, isn’t it true for us grown-ups, that we have had to learn other onboard skills by which to appropriate the extravagant love, unwavering attention, and meaningful purpose (validation), afforded to us by our faithful God? If however, you still have a doting grandparent, thank God and receive all you can!
As I mentioned in Faith Journeys , there are some places where we journey in community and then some places where only you, and what is dearest to you, must journey alone. Humanly alone perhaps, but never divinely alone. Faith is what it is – “the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality–faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].” Heb. 11:1 (AMP) “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.” 2 Cor. 4:16-18 I will never question the veracity of these scripture passages, but those temporary trials sure do pack a wallop, while the eternal glory being achieved seems a bit too distant to be relevant for what’s pressing on my heart today. But there is a way forward and isn’t this the very thing that the Father asked of Jesus, and in turn asks of us?
Anonymous and Unseen are actually titles of books that I have read. First, Anonymous: Jesus’ Hidden Years and Yours and secondly, Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to be Noticed. Let’s look at an excerpt from Alicia Chole’s Anonymous.
“In our sensory-driven world, it is easy to reduce our working definition of living to the stuff we can touch, taste, feel, hear, and see. Easy, but unwise. Such a reduction renders us vulnerable to a deadly form of hopelessness when we experience pain-filled trials or pleasure-less times… hidden years provide the opportunity for us to wrestle with what truly makes us significant. In the absence of others volunteering to explain why we are so valuable, we have to answer that question for ourselves… in each season of hiddenness, our sense of value is disrupted. Stripped of what others affirmed in us, we are left staring at our undecorated selves, wondering what makes us truly special. Surely no one experienced this disruption more drastically than Jesus. He came from heaven to earth, voluntarily stripped of his glory. Yet he does not seem to question the value of his undecorated self. During his hidden years, Jesus clearly came to terms with what made him significant. Actually, that what was a Who: the God whose love does not ebb and flow on the ever vacillating waves of human perceptions. What grows in anonymous seasons? An unshakable identity.”
Now, a glimpse into Sara Hagerty’s Unseen.
“There was frost when my fledgling marriage was chilled by anger and silence, followed by my father’s death and – my longest, coldest winter – twelve years of infertility. I was no longer living in a hothouse, always growing taller, always producing fruit. God was winterizing me. His intention wasn’t to leave me fruitless – God loves fruit. He hid me so that I would find Him in the hiddenness. So I would come back to my roots, so I would see His eyes on me in the hiding. When what I see with my eyes doesn’t come together like I hope, I tend to look a little bit longer at Him. When my dreams aren’t being fulfilled, I’m invited to search the one who gives dreams in the first place…Healing starts with acknowledging we’re broken. Seeing God as Healer starts with seeing ourselves in need of healing. And so God hides us. He takes us into a place where the opinions of others fail us. Where we can’t see through our fears. That’s where He speaks to us. And the longing that comes from being hidden makes us more aware of our brokenness, more receptive to His healing, than we’d ever be in the light of the world’s applause.”
I have a short list of books that have been seasonally strategic for me, over the past 43 years of my Christian journey. Some have been a potent “one and done”, while others have been revisited many times. The ones I’ve highlighted today are more recent for me. To sum up, Anonymous is like a box of chocolates, the kind that has descriptions of each piece on the top of the box. You can pick any one (chapter), no special order required. Unseen is more of a story, with jewels strewn about to gather along the way; a deep narrative of honest emotion and candor, set in the midst of a marriage and family life that we can all relate to.
If you feel prompted to read one of these books that I’ve featured today, I would love to hear your experience. Please see the “Contact” section of our website and drop me a line.