September 1, 2023
The God Who Comes To Find You When You’re Hiding
ELIZABETH LAING THOMPSON
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It had been a difficult season, with new crises coming on so fast they rear-ended each other: Anxious kids. Work stress. Relationship drama. I’d been on edge for a while, but a strained conversation with a friend finally pushed me over the edge.
At that point, as a woman who relies on God in times of trouble, I … ran from God and went into hiding. I shut down and shut people out, doing everything I could to avoid my problems.
The Holy Spirit nudged me with gentle suggestions, which I batted away:
You could pray … Or I could eat chocolate.
You could read the Bible … Or I could escape inside this novel.
You could reach out to a friend … Or I could reach for a blanket and hide under it.
Maybe you’ve been there. You’re hurting, and you know all the “right” things to do, the emotionally and spiritually healthy choices: pray, read Scripture, invite God and others to support you. But those steps sound tiring, vulnerable and risky, so instead, if you’re anything like me, you retreat into a cave of seclusion.
But you and I aren’t the only believers to attempt the “if I hide in my room with my feelings, maybe they’ll disappear” technique.
Many centuries ago, the mighty prophet Elijah did something similar. After 40 days on the run from an enemy, Elijah felt so overwhelmed he hid in a cave. Not a metaphorical cave — an actual, literal cave!
But God didn’t leave Elijah alone. He didn’t wait for Elijah to “get it together” on his own. When Elijah didn’t come to God, God came to Elijah.
“There [Elijah] came to a cave, where he spent the night.
“But the LORD said to him, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'
“Elijah replied, ‘I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But … I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.’
“‘Go out and stand before me on the mountain,’ the LORD told him” (1 Kings 19:9-11a, NLT).
Then a great and powerful wind tore through the mountains. After the wind there was an earthquake, after the earthquake came a fire, and after the fire came a gentle whisper.
“And a voice said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1 Kings 19:13b, NLT).
The Lord’s almighty power was announced by wind, earthquake and fire, but when God Himself arrived, He came in the comforting sound of a gentle whisper: soft rain on spring leaves, cool breath on a fevered forehead.
As He did with Elijah, so the Lord seeks us when we’re hiding, calling us out of our caves — perhaps through a text from a friend checking on us, perhaps through a Bible verse that keeps coming to mind … perhaps through the words you are reading right now.
God is whispering, What are you doing here? He longs to know your heart and hear your hurt.
Once Elijah shared his feelings with God, God gave him some action steps, most of which involved relationship with people who could ease his load (1 Kings 19:15-18). You may still have heart-work ahead — processing emotions, inviting support from friends, family or a counselor — but responding to God’s call is a key first step. Poking your head out of your cave to share, saying, “This is what I’m feeling and why I’ve been hiding,” is a significant start. It allows you to receive love and care from God and others. To move toward healing instead of staying stuck in your hurt.
If you’ve been hiding from your problems, I pray you respond to God’s tender call today. You can take His hand and let Him lead you out of your dark cave and into His wondrous light.
Father, thank You for loving me enough to seek me out when I’ve been hiding. Thank You for walking with me through my intense emotions. I trust You to guide me, and I know I am safe in Your love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Announcing our newest event … Reset: A Saturday To Tend to Your Soul with Proverbs 31 Ministries! Join us on October 7 at First Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC, for a one-day event where you can experience uninterrupted time away from the noise of your daily life and connect with Jesus through intentional worship. Hear from Lysa TerKeurst, Dr. Joel Muddamalle and Wendy Blight as you gather with other women who are seeking to grow deeper in their faith too. Click here to sign up today!
Elizabeth Laing Thompson’s book All the Feels for Teens: the Good, the Not-So-Good, and the Utterly Confusing helps teens process emotions in healthy, godly ways. Get your copy today!
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 139:7-12, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there … If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (NIV).
How has God shown up to call you out of your “cave” and back into relationship with Him and with others? Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2023 by Elizabeth Laing Thompson. All rights reserved.