Monday, December 16, 2013

The Hidden Parts

(Submitted by Kerry Patton)
For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” Luke 8:17

The Dead Zone
Following the construction of our shop building behind our home, we could finally get serious about growing grass in our back yard.  We had professionals come in and hydro mulch Bermuda grass there, and after what seemed an eternity of watering, at last, we had a lush spread of thriving green grass.  Except for one spot, that is.  There, just off the patio that extended the shop porch was a perfectly rectangular dead spot.  When the shop was being decked for shingles, a stack of decking board had been located there.  Curiously, nothing would grow where that wood had been stacked.  I mean NOTHING.  Not a weed, no grass, nothing.  We had this rectangular dead zone.  Was there some chemical in that wood decking that had effectively sterilized the soil in the shape of the wood that had been there before?  I had never witnessed anything like it. 

Surely, as summer crawled on, the Bermuda grass would divide and conquer this lifeless rectangle.  Nope.  The entire growing season went by and we had this dead spot in our lawn.  It was a perfect, dead rectangle of soil.  I jokingly referred to it as a UFO landing site.  Whatever had killed the soil, it had done an excellent job of it.

My brilliant wife, also mystified by this phenomenon, kept chewing on the mystery.  Saturday morning, she had an idea:  Had one of those roof deck panels gotten buried beneath the soil when the construction team leveled the soil following the completion of the shop?  Armed with a tool she uses to uproot weeds, Laura went out and dug down beneath the topsoil.  It didn’t take long until she struck ‘pay-dirt’ as it were.  Shortly, she had wrestled up the decaying remains of a sheet of wafer board decking material.  Our mystery was solved.  Life would return to that section of the yard!

Morning Rituals and Revelations
Two days later, as I do many mornings, before leaving for work I stepped out onto the back porch to sample the morning air and take in the new day.  My gaze wandered over to the dead spot by the shop patio.  I considered the irony of how something hidden had kept growth from taking place there.  Suddenly, my heart was quickened.  Hidden things can also keep you and me from growing don’t they?  Of course, I speaking of sins or life habits that perhaps we think no one is aware of; that keep us from growing and prospering in our following the Lord Jesus.

Then my heart quickened again…it was a dreadful thought, but one I had to face none-the-less: the hidden thing in my yard had stopped growth there to be sure, AND it had caused an OBVIOUS dead spot in the yard.  Anyone walking along that patio could see that life wasn’t present there.  They couldn’t see the hidden thing, mind you; but they could see the result: The dead spot. 

Those sins and life patterns that produce hindrance to growth in our spiritual lives…are the resulting dead spots obvious to those around me just as that perfect dead rectangle was in my grass??? 
I suddenly found myself praying a similar prayer King David had prayed long ago in Psalm 139:23-24:
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
            Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
       And lead me in the everlasting way.

I think it’s a safe assumption to suggest that all of us have ‘hidden parts.’  It’s a part of being human.  We have those areas of our lives where humanity is less than Christ-like.  Vices, habits, emotional struggles, addictions, relationship problems…secrets that we don’t want ANYONE to learn of.  Yet the truth is, we all have them.  They are the product of our fallen nature, and constitute those things which we must continue to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  That’s why we pray King David’s prayer from Psalm 139.  Search me, O God.  Find my hidden parts.  Reveal whatever it is in me that keeps me from following you, and reflecting you.


“Lord Jesus, you know my hidden parts, and I acknowledge that those un-surrendered areas of my life keep me from ‘growing up in all aspects into Christ’.  Search me.  Try me.  Purify me like the refiner purifies gold.  In your love and mercy, help me to release the hidden parts of my life to you.  In your name I pray, Amen.”

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