Hiding Place

The hiding place in Corrie ten Boom's room

The hiding place in Corrie ten Boom's room

When the world is too much, Rhema will often go and squeeze herself into a quiet, enclosed space. Once, at the airport, in the midst of noise and chaos, she climbed into a bin near the baggage claim area. At home, she squeezes heself between shelves and boxes in our “book nook.” There is something about the tight confinement that brings her a sense of calm. She is safe, she is in control, she is surrounded on all sides; she knows where she is in space.

Once in a great while and for only a brief moment, she finds her hiding place in my arms.

This morning I discovered that she was not in her bed. I found her, instead, asleep behind a clothing bin, huddled in the back of her closet. Some time ago, we removed the knob from the closet door to prevent her from going in. (Rhema likes to pull down clothes and swing from the bar in her closet). But last night, she had managed to get into the closet and find her perfect hiding spot. She was actually sleeping peacefully… and that’s kind of rare around here.

Instantly I was reminded of a beautiful song from the Psalms.
You are my hiding place
You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance
Whenever I am afraid
I will trust in you

Many years ago, I was working in Ethiopia for Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. Two students I knew from Brown had accompanied me into the city to buy supplies. When it was late in the day, my friends and I parted ways. They were concerned about me traveling alone. (This was a very dangerous part of the city and any young woman who looked foreign, lost or vulnerable was preyed upon. In fact, several weeks earlier I had lost my way. I had been locked out of the mission where I worked and forced to spend a very frightening night in the city alone.)  But, on this day, I assured my friends that I would be fine.

Not long they left, a man grabbed me and tried to steal my bag. He sneered my name, which made me suspect that he had been following us all day. (My friend Rachel was very tall and very fair – she attracted attention – mostly beggars, some thieves – wherever we went).

I bit his hand, dropped the bag, and ran like Gail Devers. I darted into what looked like a post office and hid myself behind rows and rows of mailboxes. There I stayed, in my little hiding spot, afraid to ask for help, afraid to trust anyone. I did not speak the language, did not know where to go. I thought the man might be waiting for me outside, so I stayed there for hours. To put it in Bible-speak, I was sore afraid.

As the hours ticked by, I began to hum that little Psalm:

You are my hiding place
You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance
Whenever I am afraid
I will trust in you

I will trust in you
Let the weak say I am strong
In the strength of the Lord
I will trust in you

It gave me courage to know that these are the very words the ten Boom family clung to during their time in hiding and in the prison camps.

After several hours, I got up, strode out of the place and walked all the way back to the mission. I looked straight ahead and sang that little song the whole way, and not a single person stopped me.

 

I admire our children for recognizing when they need to get away, to calm their senses, to go and hide. When the Israelites battled the Philistines, if they saw that they were in trouble and could not defend themselves, they would turn tail and run to a hiding place. It might be a rock, a high place, a thicket, a pit, or a cave.

We too, when we are too weak for our enemies (fill in the blank), we can seek a safe and sure hiding place. Certainly there is a hiding place for us, if we had but skill to seek it out they way our children do. Where is it but in God? ‘For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his shelter: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.’ Ps. 27:5

Seeing Rhema curled up on top of her shoes in the closet this morning made me remember to go there – back to the place where there is refuge, comfort, rest and, yes, deliverance. This is the place that has the capacity to contain me and receive me. This hiding place is big enough for all that we have.

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14 thoughts on “Hiding Place

  1. you know, BOTH of my girls do the same thing .. kendall likes to squish herself inside boxes like a little turtle while darby borrows into her closet and closes the door. in the quiet, the dark, the stillness there is peace.

    love.

  2. Foster likes to find tight spaces, too. We mostly find him under beds, or between furniture and a wall. I’m picturing you between the mailboxes. Wow.

    love.

  3. …”back to the place where there is refuge, comfort, rest…”

    Thanks for the reminder of where our hiding place truly is.

    I’ve been looking at Starbucks. I was lost; Now I’m found.

    Love you.

  4. Thanks Jeneil for making the mundane sacred, once again. When Reid was Rhema’s age he would curl up in the recycling bins on our basement stairs, the bottom shelf of a built in china hutch, and once we found him in a flower pot at the local plant nursery. Oddly, we have photos of all of those which could make a nice series. You remind me that it is ALL well with my soul.

  5. Hiding often has such a negative connotation. But how true that we need to just drop it all and run into the shadow of His wings to hide at times. That is where our strength is renewed and we can sleep peacefully.

    Psalm 63:7-8 “Because you are my help, I will sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”

    Love you girl. Your words always touch me deeply.

  6. I just found your blog via Jess’s blog, which I found via another SN mom’s blog. Anyway, your posts (and your daughters) are beautiful. I also have a husband Brandon who is about to deploy (but to Afghanistan, not Iraq). My daughter has a catastrophic epilepsy caused by treatment for leukemia.

    Anyway, just wanted to say hi and that I am happy to have found your inspirational blog.

    Liz

  7. He is the only One I can run to … my hiding place, the only spot that makes “sense” most days. Lately, I’ve felt the “pressing in” of the world all around me. When all seems too overwhelming, I talk comfort in my “curling up” and hiding from the chaos. Truly, God is my peace for the journey. If we could all take hold of the truth that he “gives peace, not as the world gives” but better (John 14:27).

    Thanks, again, for another wonderful life picture of what it means to walk in peace with the Peace-Giver.

    ~elaine

  8. Pingback: Oh, the Antics! « Autism In a Word

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