With all the hype and hyperbole regarding the famous, or infamous, House Intelligence Committee “Memo” released on Friday, the news has been full of debates about hidden things. Secrets can be intriguing and since everyone seems to be talking about them, we might as well join in.
In considering the subject, it occurs to me that I didn’t have a lot of secrets in my early years, mostly because there was nothing about me important enough to hide from anybody. If I had paid more attention to how the power of a little intrigue catapulted the “Hardy Boys” to fame and fortune, things could have been different. All I needed was a cool mystery, something I could make all my friends swear not to tell anybody.
For instance, if I told a few select friends that I found an old map hidden in the woods on our property that showed where a huge stash of Indian gold was buried, life could have gotten a lot more interesting. In no time, the secret would be leaked and even the cool kids would have found me irresistible. I could have even kicked it up a notch by revealing that we couldn’t dig it up because it was hidden in the middle of an ancient burial ground and protected by a curse. If you tried to sneak in and get it, the spirits would make all your guts rot and you’d die with weird stuff coming out of your nose. I could have been part of an urban legend — except that we lived in the country. Oh well…
An Actual Covert Mission ~
The closest I came to an actual covert mission in those days was when my buddy, Dinks, got hold of what he claimed was part of a secret spy manual. It had a code in it that would allow undetected communication by winking in certain patterns. Dinks knew that a girl named Barbara was my favorite answer if asked why on earth God bothered to create females. I found her totally captivating, but I was afraid to talk to her. Dinks planned to use the spy manual to help me break the ice with her. He’d give her a copy of the secret winking code, and then I could send messages to her during class and nobody would know. All afternoon, every time she looked toward my side of the room, I winked frantically, trying to say something bold and romantic, like, “Hi.” I winked till my eyes hurt and got nothing from Barbara, because Dinks chickened out and never gave her the code. Mrs. Hardaway noticed, though, and as I was leaving class, she suggested that I have my mom take me to the doctor about that disturbing twitch in my eyes.
Secrets run the gamut from frivolous to frightening. There’s something deeply compelling about hidden things that energizes, and sometimes inflames, our curiosity. Our love of mysteries drives us to seek them out everywhere, and when our day-to-day life fails to produce enough of them, we create new ones in our imagination. Every day, an insatiable audience waits breathlessly for the next story to be written, the next movie to be produced, and the next TV series to begin. When Solomon mentioned among his proverbs a list of things that “… never say, ‘Enough’ ” (Proverbs 30:15 NKJV), he could have included consumers of mysteries along with the other examples. Every new day dawns with the expectation that the mysteries we snatched up and devoured yesterday will be replaced with a fresh supply today, and more will be served up tomorrow.
Secrets Can be Seductive ~
Secrets have powerful potential. They can protect us, infect us, inspire us, and entertain us. An unveiled secret can be the key to unlocking our grandest dream — or unleashing our worst nightmare. The seduction of mystery adds tantalizing spice to stories that might otherwise be listless and boring. A scheduled meeting with an acquaintance might hardly be worth a second thought, but if the meeting represents a clandestine rendezvous with a lover nobody knows about, it can elicit heart-pounding excitement, even if it’s a forbidden liaison doomed to end in disaster. Fantasized secrets can be fun for a while, but our personal secrets are a different matter. How we deal with the hidden things in our own life can have extensive consequences.
In most cases, keeping personal aspects of our lives private is not only not sinful, it’s perfectly appropriate. But one of the upside down characteristics of our culture is the disturbing tendency to expose things that ought to be hidden and hiding things that ought to be revealed. Deciding what to hide and what to expose about ourselves or others around us is not always as cut and dried as we’d like it to be. Many of us live with an underlying sense of anxiety regarding some secret we would not want revealed. God, who is the great revealer of mysteries, offers a way out. Jesus invites us to bring our secrets to Him, especially since he declared that eventually, the wraps would come off of every secret we have. He said, “For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.” Mark 4:22 (NKJV)
A Path to Freedom ~
Most of us hide things because they reveal our flaws and represent our worst failures, and we fear the consequences that would unfold if people knew. All of us have behaviors we’d like to keep out of the public record, but sometimes the desire for secrecy keeps us from exposing them to the only One whose judgment really matters. Cleansing and freedom from the bondage of fear and anxiety our secrets bring with them begins by confessing them to God, who already knows anyway and wants to set us free. David, who had been hiding some awful secrets, discovered the way to peace and freedom.
I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Psalm 32:5-7 (NKJV)
When we bring our darkest deeds into the light of His presence, He sets us free to explore the endless mysteries wrapped in the kind of love that takes hopelessly broken things and makes them whole.
© 2018 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.
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