Last month our family snorkeled off the coast of Cancun at what is part of the world’s second largest barrier reef. The next day we pulled on wetsuits to wade through the turquoise cenotes (natural sinkholes) in caves underneath a Mayan jungle. In these limestone caves were the most spectacular treasures of sparkling stalagmites and stalactites, and in the ocean new surprises to be seen around every fan of coral. On both days it struck me that from the above ground view you would never know what beauty lied beneath. That hidden under the sea and a remote jungle was beauty never to be seen by most people, every bit as spectacular as a sunset displayed for the whole world to see.
God could have left these hidden places void of his splendor. But when He called his creation good, it wasn’t based on how many millions would see it. It was good simply because he beautifully created it, even if not seen by a soul.
This isn’t our how our culture thinks though, is it? According to our “go big or go home” way of thinking we might even question God on his strategic marketing plan: “Wouldn’t such beauty be better placed where it could be seen by the masses?”
But this same misguided mindset isn’t just in business (or ministry), it filters into our thinking – personally – in subtle ways. God created us with a longing to be known/to be seen. But we miss seeing his knowledge of us, and pleasure in us, is enough.
We’ve bought into the lie that our value is based on the recognition and accolades we receive from the world. Is it any wonder the mom making endless peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and running carpool, or the mom whose nest is nearly or now empty, might struggle with significance and contentment?
But it’s certainly not limited to moms, it’s all of us – in every field and walk of life. Just consider the explosion of reality TV stars, YouTube sensations and InstaFamous bloggers. The clamoring of teens and adults for more “likes,” more popularity/fame, more hustle, more people paying attention to us. As author Sara Hagerty writes in her new book Unseen we live as if “performance earns our keep.”
But in our search for significance we’re never completely satisfied. There’s always more to be had. But when we’re so consumed with what everyone else is doing and how we compare, we forget God divinely placed us right where we are. Some will have big audiences and lots of applause. Others will have only their small little tribe and maybe not much, or any, affirmation at all.
But he sees. He put you there. With purpose. And he delights in you, not because of what you’re doing but because he made you.
Can you believe “the One who created praise itself,” (as written by Hagerty), the one who knitted you hidden in the womb, it is he who delights in you! And he doesn’t care how many followers you have, what your platform is or how successful you are.
Do you see him standing there cheering you on? Can you hear his applause?
I hope so. Wherever you feel hidden, less significant, unproductive or not enough may you know his pleasure today and find true contentment in him.
When I think about what I saw in the ocean and in the underground caves, and when I’ve been deep in the trees on a mountain hike, or peering out at the landscape surrounding the oh so tiny Portuguese village of Marvao, I am utterly awestruck that God saw fit to place some of his most magnificent creation out of view.
* Affiliate links are used at no cost to you but to compensate in some small way the cost of keeping a blog.