by Anita Miles
Several months ago, we obtained a chocolate Labradoodle from my friend, Sarah, for our new homestead. He’s a ball of nothing but full steam ahead energy, and is into EVERYTHING!! We cannot turn the doorknob to walk outside when he is not on our heels or trying to knock us down to play! After we got him, his first instinct was to bolt inside the house and run circles until someone could catch him. Until one Sunday morning when everything changed!
To paint the picture for you, we were all dressed in our Sunday best lining up to file out the door to head to church. The goal was to have power in numbers so that at least one of us would be able to catch Dozer before he got past us. Jeremy, my husband, went first and then the kids. I was in the back of the line. We have a large kitchen island that we were all walking around to head out the back door. As soon as Jeremy opened the door, in bounced our fluffy ball of chaos. What I wasn’t paying attention to - and what Dozer, the dog, was unaware of - was that Jeremy had hit the power button on the remote of the robot vacuum cleaner to run while we were gone.
As Dozer came bounding in, the slipping and sliding halt was audible as he tried to brake when the robot happened to round the corner of the island about the same time that he did! There they both stood for a split second - “nose” to nose. Dozer turned and bolted faster than greased lightning right back out the same door he had just come running into. We couldn’t have caught him if we had tried.
There was a time that followed his chance meeting with the robot that you couldn’t have pushed him inside. I guess the memory of something he had no knowledge of, working on the inside, had him too spooked to go back!
I think I laughed all the way to church that day. The image of Dozer attempting to slide to a sudden stop was just downright hilarious. The robot proved to be an amazing and powerful training tool that none of us even had a clue of! It was all a collision of all the right elements at the right time!
Recently I was listening to a devotional on the power of secret Christianity and I was reminded of this experience. I am ashamed to admit how much that particular devotion has challenged me. I have taken the time to repent over and over at how lightly I have taken this matter at times!
I think that it’s easy to forget the value of our time with God in true secrecy! Our lives are so busy and cluttered with all consuming obligations, appointments, jobs, lifestyles, and even Christian service. It’s downright exhausting to even think about - and here we are trying to live it out with about as much chaos as our Dozer brings! Corporate worship for us is fantastic, some devotions, lots of Gospel music and podcasts, sermons online…. But what about true committed time with God in secret urgent prayer?
We have needs! We have family members that need Jesus to transform them in unbelievable ways! There are chains! There are addictions! We have relationships that need to be healed! We have health problems that we need answers for! And yet have we taken the time to shut life down for a little bit and release the greatest weapon of our warfare? Have we taken the time to go to God in secret or to fast in earnest about it? Or is it just easier to complain about all the things that we need to be right in our lives?
Secret Christianity has rewards that are immeasurable! There is something about going to God in secret that tells Him that His workings in a matter and your time with Him are more important than absolutely anything else in your life! That action has a promise attached to it that goes like this…”when you pray to your Heavenly Father in secret, He will reward you openly!” The same promise is for fasting as well!
I don’t know how it works - nor do I have the ability to explain. I only know that something happens in realms in which we cannot see or process when we get alone with God and share with only Him the prayers that are too valuable to share with others! When God is taken out of the box of how we think He needs to fix things and we release Him to do His work - His way, He begins to transform hearts in the darkness. He puts the right people in the right places. He opens doors where none even exist. He replaces hate with love. And much, much more!
Sometimes the process is gradual - and sometimes it’s sudden and unexpected - and the shock of it brings us to an immediate halt to catch our breath!! No matter - these are the moments that we see or get to hold the exceeding, abundant, and above what we could ask for or think of blessings! These are the times the peace that surpasses the complexity of the situation or our understanding comes along.
There’s absolutely nothing in the world more rewarding in a Christian’s life than to have a secret prayer before the Lord and then watch it be fulfilled before your eyes! Whether it is in a matter of moments, days, or years.
I have experienced this in my own life recently! I’m telling you - I can’t begin to describe to you what it has done to my heart and how it has increased my faith!
Just as Dozer was unprepared to meet our robot at work inside our house - we can never know the inner workings of God and His ways. If we are willing to sacrifice some time in a secret place and pour ourselves on the altar of God’s Grace, He is more than willing and SO desires to work in our lives. The secret pieces of our Christianity are just as vital to our journey as what we live out loud! May we stop and make the time to take God at His word! I’m telling you - the rewards are worth it!