On a cold, grey afternoon just before Christmas 2017, we were driving back from town when out from the bushes jumped an animal – grey, long-legged and scraggy looking. I thought it was a deer but, on closer inspection, it turned out to be a dog – some kind of greyhound cross. It was a big thing, but filthy and on its last legs.
It jumped into the boot and, on the journey to the vets, it gobbled through our lunch. For reasons unclear to me, but which involved my wife and daughters, it turned up at our house in January 2018 and has never left. It is known by the family as “The Lurcher”.
The arrival of The Lurcher was not seen, by the family cat, as an entirely positive development. The Lurcher’s idea of play is to jump up and down on the feline, sometimes with the feline in its mouth. The cat, therefore, has taken to hiding in a wide variety of places – in the fruit bowl, on top of the washing machine, tucked behind the printer, even underneath the box the vegetables come in.
Sometimes, we just need to hide. Sometimes the world closes in a way that’s not comfortable or productive. Sometimes, we need to recalibrate, or re-set our brains and emotions to cope with the complexity around us.
The psalmist described God as his hiding place. A hiding in God is not a denial of the world around us. It displays maturity and an insight that our lifestyle takes a toll on us. We need a space and time for spiritual renewal and communion.
Many of us have a special place where we feel restful or safe, but I don’t think of God’s hiding place necessarily as a physical space, but more of a temporal thing – a time and opportunity to rest in God’s arms and experience his care and concern for us. It can be a time of growth, of awakening and positivity. A place where we can listen out for the songs of deliverance.
You are my refuge and my strength
When I hide in you, will you mend me? Will you make me fit for the storm outside? Will you fill me with a desire to live for you in the world outside?
7 You are my hiding-place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.