Wednesday, 9 August 2017


I glanced briefly out the large, west window of our living room as I sank into my recliner. For at least the third time in recent days, I noted the flash of blue in the tree at the edge of our lawn. I love that tree, though how it came to grow there is still a mystery.

I grabbed a book, but couldn't seem to concentrate. Reaching for my phone, I scanned social media for updates from friends. Still unable to concentrate, and frustrated by the seemingly ridiculous obsession with the mysterious blue in the tree outside, I rose to investigate.

 Stepping down from our front deck, our walkway is hemmed in by large day lilies. A gift from a dear coworker several years ago, these lilies have really been a miraculous display this summer, given the drought we have experienced. Making a special effort to step over the lilies carefully, I note another unusual splash of color in one of the plants. I pause, bend over and snap a photo.

There, nestled in the life-giving shade of the lily, is a delicate stem of bellflower. I am baffled as to its origin, as my husband and I took great care to uproot our flowerbeds last year, replanting only bulbous varieties. This little beauty, though, has taken root - and refuge - in a place so protected, it has become fully mature before being noticed. Smiling at the absurdity of being outsmarted by a plant, I continue to the tree that is my reason for venturing into the scorching temperatures.

Peering into the heart of the young tree while parting some close-knit branches, I am in awe of the beautiful shock of color in front of me! There, clinging to the trunk of this tree nobody planted, is another mysterious flower in fuĺl bloom. Hidden in plain sight, protected from the burn of the sun, roots shaded in the dry soil held together mostly by the secure frame of a cinder block. 

As is often the case, I find myself singing the lyrics of an old song:
       Hide me behind the cross
       Where my gains become as loss
       And only Your glory is in view
       Your power will be revealed
       The more that I am concealed
       Hide me behind the cross
       So the world sees only You.

I wonder if I could be this: a life hidden. Could I take shelter under His wings, unnoticed until I, too, have matured? Could I grow in grace and beauty, clinging to Him for shelter and support?

 John 15:5 reads,  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (NIV) 
This is perhaps the most visual demonstration I have witnessed of a life hidden, clinging...and thriving. I am instantly stricken by the similarities between these plants and the life of Jesus. You see, we cut that tree down. Twice. We hadn't planted it, so we assumed it was an alder bush. On its third year of persistence to grow, I encouraged my husband to let it be for the summer. 

Jesus also arrived in this world unrecognized. We read in John 1:11, "He came to that which was His own, but His own people did not receive Him." Because He wasn't conceived (or planted) by earthly design, Jesus wasn't immediately recognized for who He really was. They tried cutting Him down, even to the point of death.

On its third season, this tree was granted life. On the third day, Jesus rose to live again. In two seasons of life, this tree that nobody planted has sprung to such vibrant life that it has become a shelter for other living things, like birds and wildflowers. Two centuries after His resurrection, Jesus - unrecognized, cut down and then risen - has ascended to the heavens and become a place of refuge for wild hearts such as mine! I am the life hidden. In Him.

I realize now that despite all my best intentions, I may have been praying the wrong prayer. It is not for me to ask that the world see Christ in me; rather, I pray that they must look twice to see me, hidden in Him.

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