My childhood neighborhood seemed to be the ultimate place for hiding games. Not only was there a glorious array of trees, shrubs, and outbuildings, but also kindly neighbors who would smile as I put a finger to my lips with one hand while pointing furtively at my seeking brothers with the other.
Then later, as a youth minister’s wife, I became the object of ridicule for my surprised comment upon stepping into a pond in a night game of “Sardines” with a youth group. My dismayed wail, “Who would put a pond here?!” drew fits of laughter from across the water, revealing the position of the once-hidden teens. I’m still sticking to my story that I did it on purpose in order to find them. My friends who remember the incident still laugh at the recollection.
Pictured here is my trusty, weathered shovel that had been missing during the winter. I happened to be crouching down, weeding some emerging Shasta daisies when my eye was at the right level to spot it.
And it just so happened that I needed that shovel immediately after the picture was taken.
God tells us our “life is hidden with Christ” (Colossians 3:3 NASB). I love the cozy feeling of that phrase! We are hidden safe where God can use us where he needs us most. All the while we are in the best spot, with Christ.
So often we feel a little lost because we don’t know what direction we are taking, or where life is taking us unwillingly. We are unsure of the future when our life just doesn’t fit in where we expected it to.
My shovel normally would have been in the garage, with the other tools. That would be where I expected it. Well, maybe not, because leaving my tools out where I use them is a bad habit of mine. Instead, it was out among the plants, getting its rustic look perfected even further.
It was hidden, but not really lost. It was found just in the nick of time, but surely not by my intelligent design, rather by my carelessness. God, on the other hand, has planned out exactly where we should be in any point of our lives, and he has a use for us in His eternal purpose. He can use us even when we feel like we are out of place. That is a comfort that cannot be portrayed accurately enough, but my shovel reminded me of this fact.
“Crouching gardener, hidden shovel.” We get along just fine, my tools and I.
“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).