By Pastor Jeff Smith
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
“Hide and Seek”
My big toe hurt really, really bad. And it looked really, really gross. But my number one mission in life was hiding the problem with my toe.
I had an ingrown toenail. It had gotten past the point of no return. I needed to have surgery to correct the problem. I won’t go into too much detail, but if you looked at my toe, you could hardly see the resemblance between this…thing…and a healthy human toe.
So if it hurt so bad, and looked so bad, and needed a doctor to heal it, why on earth was I hiding my problem? I was a foolish twelve-year-old boy who wanted to finish out my tennis season. I still had a couple of important tournaments to play at the end of the year, and I knew that if I had toe surgery I would be sidelined for at least a couple of weeks. So, I hid it. I was never barefoot in front of my family. I slept in socks. I did whatever I could to cover up my problem. Did it hurt to play tennis on the toe? Yes! Every time my toe hit the ground I felt a jolt of pain. But somehow in my twelve-year-old brain it seemed like a good idea to conceal my predicament.
What eventually happened? Well, as with all things you try to hide, the truth about my toe came out. My parents saw my toe during the last tournament of the year, and as you might have guessed, they were not thrilled with my life choices. My mom promptly scheduled an appointment with a podiatrist, and I had surgery a few days later.
And you know what? When the truth about my toe was revealed, and I didn’t have to hide it any longer, I felt like there was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t have to go around hiding my problem anymore. It actually felt good to have it all out in the open.
Have you ever experienced something like this? A time when you have desperately worked to hide a problem from other people? Or, let me take it one step further–have you ever desperately tried to hide a problem from God?
The biggest problems we try to hide in our lives usually have to do with our sin. We hide things from each other all the time. We even try to hide them from God (as if we think somehow He doesn’t already know us inside and out). And this hiding game causes us to bear the weight of the world on our shoulders.
I recently read Psalm 32, and it reminded me of the “ingrown toenail incident” of ‘98. Here is part of that psalm:
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
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.
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.
Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance.
King David wrote this psalm. And if you remember, David played his own game of “hide the sin” from God and others. David had an affair with Bathsheba, and if that wasn’t bad enough, he also, for all intents and purposes, had her husband, Uriah, killed. David tried to conceal this sinful act for a while. But eventually God confronted him about his sin. So, David is writing this psalm from personal experience.
It is a dangerous game to try to sneak through life with our sins tucked away in some hidden corner of the attic. The guilt weighs upon you. It begins to affect your relationships with God and others.
David’s message in Psalm 32 is so beautiful and comforting for us because it tells us once again what good news God has for us. Read verse 5 again–I said I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.
When we at last unburden ourselves of our sins, and confess them to God, He takes the weight of the world off our shoulders. He proclaims to us that His Son, Jesus, has already taken the weight of our sin, and even the weight of the entire world’s sin, upon His own shoulders. By His death on the cross in our place, we are now forgiven. What comforting, freeing news for us to hear after a long game of sinful “hide and seek.”
Don’t keep your sins hidden away. Seek our God, who is gracious and merciful and waiting to offer you the forgiveness paid for by Jesus. Because of Jesus, your sins aren’t just hidden somewhere waiting to be found. They are removed as far as the east is from the west. They are gone and forgotten.