There’s a tree beside the church: A dwarf Alberta spruce. It’s not big, but it’s incredibly mighty – at least for a sparrow I know.
Recently, on my way into church, a sparrow flew by my head. So close I flinched. A second later a hawk dove by me as well. The sparrow used me to slow its attacker, knowing it could corner faster than the hawk by flying close to me. It worked! But the hawk’s pursuit continued. I thought the sparrow was toast.
But that sparrow knew what to do: It headed for home. It flew straight to that dwarf Alberta spruce, flying inside that tree. At the last second, the hawk flared, landing beside the tree. The hawk circled, looking for access, but found none. Frustrated, the predator departed. The sparrow had won. It knew where to go for salvation. It hid itself within the source of its salvation and in so doing it denied death a victory.
That sparrow’s wisdom can be ours if we heed the truth in this passage: If you belong to God (which you do) and if you have been raised with Christ (which you have – because Jesus Christ is risen today), then make him the focus of your life. Your life is part of his life now. Your life is hidden with Christ in God. Your essence is woven into and absorbed within the great tide of Easter. Death can’t chase you down. The devil can’t snatch you up because you’re hidden away: Deep within the heart of God. God’s love has you, and no principality or power can ever grab you away from Christ, who arose to save you.
All we have to do is hang in there by staying close to our Source. Stick with Jesus: Do what he does. Love as he loves. Keep your heart in God’s heart, and God will keep your life in God’s life. You may feel sparrow-like in a hawk-filled world, but you, too, have your tree: You have the tree on which Christ gave us his life to give you life. By Christ’s sacrifice, your sin is forgiven. By his obedience, your perpetual wrong is made forever right. Through his Resurrection, your dying destiny was rerouted unto God’s Easter horizon of living hope.
That’s why Paul says: I’m convinced that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).”
In her book The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom wrote about being in the Dutch Resistance in World War II. When the Nazis began targeting Holland’s Jews, Corrie and her family, who were devout Christians, took action. Their home, which was a block from Gestapo headquarters, became a hiding place for Jews who they saved from the Holocaust.
Eventually, the ten Boom family was betrayed and imprisoned in Ravensbruk Concentration Camp. Reflecting on that living hell, Corrie wrote: “You never learn that Christ is all you need until Christ is all you have … It’s in darkness that God’s light shines most clear … There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”
That’s hiding your life with Christ in God. That’s a description of what it is like to be hidden within the heart of God. In fact, that’s where you are now. Despite this pandemic. The facts around us and the feelings within us may shake us to our core, but the truth is we are in God’s core. We belong to God. Our life is safe within his care. Our destiny is tied to Christ; therefore, we, too, shall stand with Christ in the Resurrection to come and in the Resurrection we can live now.
Like Corrie, who provided a hiding place for desperate souls, dare to share God’s love today. Let’s care for each other during this hellish time so we all survive. Be part of God’s resistance movement during this pandemic. Share yourself by being loving. Love seems small and weak, but Easter demonstrates that love is the most powerful force in the universe. God’s love will have the last word. Not some virus. Not sin. Not evil. Not death. Love shall prevail over hate – and life, not death, shall win.
Hide yourself within that truth. Hide yourself in God. Do not seek the world’s perishing ways. Find yourself wholly (holy) within Christ. Steep yourself in his way, truth, and life. As you do, you’ll discover the glad, open secret that Easter is today.