Finding Your Secret Place
A couple of years ago I ventured away from the familiarity of Manchester and hot footed it to Latin America for my year abroad. With phrases like ‘this’ll be the best year of your life’ and ‘make sure you come back’ ringing in my ears, my expectations were sky hiiiiiigh. I really quickly realised things weren’t going to be so easy. Loneliness, culture shock and self-doubt set in as I found myself spending days at a time without seeing anyone and crying in internet cafes to my parents, I realised I would really need God here.
It took for God to move me across the world and extract me out of my super comfy comfort zone to help me realise the importance of the ‘secret place.’ This term “secret place” appears dozens of times in both the Old and New Testaments. Some translations use the word shelter, covering, or dwelling rather than “secret place.” In the Old Testament, the term “secret place” comes from the Hebrew root word cether, which means “to hide or be concealed.” All Hebrew meanings aside, I didn’t suddenly get oober holy and spend all day praying, I simply found that I had no one else to rely on but Jesus, and the more time I spent with Him, the more I wanted to. Jesus became somewhere to go to when things were getting sticky. I reckon God loves to reveal more of himself to us when we spend time alone with him, even in the hardest of times.
How often do we get alone with God? But truly alone! How often do we really turn our phones off and give Him our full attention. In my case, not often enough. There’s all too often an episode of something that I just have to watch, some online shopping that just has to be done, or if things are getting really bad even some hoovering that can’t wait. However, there are countless examples of Jesus getting alone with God in the New Testament: Following a long night of work, ‘in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place…’ (Mark 1:35). When Jesus’ twelve followers got back from a preaching and healing mission, (as if they hadn’t just been holy enough) Jesus instructed them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a lonely place.’ (Mark 6:31). Having just healed a leper Jesus ‘withdrew to the wilderness and prayed,’ (Luke 5:16). As he prepared for his most costly and holy work Jesus went alone to the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46). Flipping heck if Jesus needed all that time with his Father, how much more time do we need to spend?!
It’s in the secret place, the times we spend on our own with God that we remember who we are. We realign ourselves with God and his perspective for our lives. In other words we commune with God, and because God is a relational God and isn’t bothered by the things we do right or not so right, He loves spending time with us. His goal is simply to have our hearts.
So let’s practice this! My fav spot is the end of my bed. Have a think about yours if you don’t have one already and be expectant for what He’ll say and reveal to you.
Rosie is part of the team at CCM Fallowfield. She joined the church as a student herself and loves leading worship, connecting with students and helping other find their way into community.