Chipmunks and squirrels.
I love these guys, they are so much fun to watch.
They're always up to something – nature's purveyors of antics, hijinks, and shenanigans!
Endless entertainment on the mountain.
I have spent many days watching them scurry around, chase each other, challenge each other to be king of the boulder, and dig holes.
The other day, I happened to catch some movement in my peripheral vision. I looked up just in time to see a chipmunk run like crazy into a gap between two boulders.
How funny, I thought to myself.
Then "The Hub" said, "There's a bobcat on our porch."
Sure enough, a bobcat was prowling around our back door. No wonder Mr. Munk scampered away so quickly!
Never a dull moment around these parts!
One of my favorite things to do is watch the squirrels and chipmunks in the Fall.
In the Fall, it's rather amazing to see them hard at work, finding and storing nuts for the winter.
They are industrious and tireless.
Sometimes our trees shed lots of acorns, and the food source is readily available. Other times, there aren't so many, and yet, my friendly little *neighbors* manage to find some sort of food to hide away.
But it is during the Winter when I am most fascinated by their work.
I don't know how, despite freezing temperatures and multiple snowfalls, these little creatures still manage to find their hidey-holes.
They seem to know exactly where they've stashed their edible goodies.
And I love watching them dig up the dirt, scrounge around, and then hold their food in those cute little hands (paws!), and chew away.
How do they know where they've buried their food?
Do they detect it again by memory, or smell, or some other instinctual method that I'm not aware of?
And it's a good lesson for all of us to apply in our own lives.
Sometimes life just takes us into a wilderness time, a winter season of dryness or discouragement or trial or suffering.
It's easy to lose sight of what we know to be true.
I don't know what's going on with me lately, but I've just been blah.
No particularly big "triggering" event, just the ongoing ebb and flow of life "stuff."
So today, when I went to church, I asked the Lord to meet me there with something that I really needed to hear.
Of course, He did.
Our pastor is doing a series on the promises of God – and this morning's message was entitled, "The Promise of Answered Prayer."
The message was powerful and timely.
But, it was one verse that caught my heart.
"Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known." (Jeremiah 33:3, ESV)
I immediately thought of my little furry friends.
And their hidden things.
Several years ago, when I was going through a particularly rough time, I had a friend encourage me with these words:
"When you can't find your way in the dark, go back to what you knew and believed in the light."
I found it most helpful.
The chipmunks and squirrels spend warm sunshine days finding and hiding food, so that during the cold winter months, they'll have nourishment.
Do they hibernate like bears?
Though they sleep a lot, they don't sleep all the way through the season.
They retreat to their burrows and dens but wake every few days or weeks, raise their body temperatures to normal, and feed on stored food rather than fat reserves!
(I'd personally like to be like a bear. I've got some pesky *fat reserves* I'd like to feed on…just sayin').
When it's cold outside, they still know where to go to sustain themselves.
This is so true about faith, too.
What we store away will bring us through the wilderness times, through the winter seasons.
So, what are four things, four truths I can hide in my heart for those times when I am discouraged?
One, I can be assured of God's presence.
"'As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.'" (Joshua 1:5, AMP)
"…for He [God] Himself has said, 'I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]'" (Hebrews 13:5, AMP)
Two, I can be assured of God's power.
"Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it – the LORD is His name." (Jeremiah 33:2, ESV)
"'Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for Me?'" (Jeremiah 32:27, ESV)
Three, I can be assured of God's purpose.
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done…" (Genesis 50:20, NIV)
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28, NIV)
Four, I can be assured of God's promises.
"God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?" (Numbers 23:19, NLT)
"'Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.'" (Matthew 7:7-8, NLT)
Hiding the Word of God provides much-needed nourishment when we're full of doubts and fears, or struggling with trials and tribulations.
It is a hidden treasure of great worth.
But, there's one other thing I want to mention.
It's how God sometimes takes these wilderness, winter seasons and uses them to reveal to us something really special.
The photo accompanying this post is part of a fallen log that sits alongside the drive up to our house.
It's full of woodpecker holes.
But would you take a moment to notice something else?
Inside those holes are acorns!!
Evidently, chipmunks and squirrels are not the only ones to store away some goodies!
From a distance, those holes just look like holes.
But since this branch has broken off, we can see the treasures that are hidden there.
Again, a wonderful faith lesson.
Sometimes it takes some breaking for God to show us something really special – a revelation that we might never have known in good times.
"'I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD…who summons you by name.'" (Isaiah 45:3, NIV)
Hidden treasures, secret riches.
God has a way of carving us deeper, enriching and growing our faith when we feel weakest.
When we feel broken, and hungry, and cold.
I go back to Jeremiah 33:3 – what were the great and hidden things that God revealed to His prophet?
Two pretty awesome things.
This message came around the time of the Babylonian Conquest – a terrible time when the Jews were defeated and led into captivity.
Here God reveals that they will be rescued, returned to their homeland, once they repent and return to Him.
But, He also issues a prophecy about the coming Messiah:
"The day will come, says the LORD, when I will do for Israel and Judah all the good things I have promised them. 'In those days and at that time I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David's line. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. In that day Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this will be its name: 'The LORD Is Our Righteousness.'"
(Jeremiah 33:14-16, NLT)
Can you imagine receiving that revelation?!
So, if we're willing, God can reveal new aspects about Himself, new revelations from His Word, new depths of faith, and new purposes when we least expect it…
...right in the middle of a dry or cold spell in our hearts.
Great and hidden things.
Treasure and secret riches.
Hide them in your heart.
Let God reveal them.
Never go hungry again…
What is a hidden treasure that you have discovered about God?
Heart of my own heart,
still be my vision,
O Ruler of all.
("Be Thou My Vision" - ancient Irish hymn)
"'You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forth I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known.'" (Isaiah 48:6, ESV)
"'Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.'"
(Isaiah 43:19, ESV)
"It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him." (Daniel 2:22, NASB)
"He uncovers mysteries hidden in darkness; he brings light to the deepest gloom." (Job 12:22, NLT)
"'It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.'" (Isaiah 55:11, NLT)
"Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You." (Psalm 119:11, NASB)
"The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip."
(Psalm 37:31, NIV)
"…the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God – his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began." (1 Corinthians 2:7, NLT)
"This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed." (1 Corinthians 4:1, NIV)
"…making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ…" (Ephesians 1:9, ESV)
"'Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.'" (John 14:21, NLT)
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