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“The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1)
The other day, I went to pick up my son Nate from someone else’s place, and he tried to hide from me by crouching under a table. I could see most of his body, including his big grin, but his eyes were hidden from my sight. I knew what he was thinking: “If I can’t see him, then he can’t see me.” Nate’s behavior reminded me of when my younger brother was that age, and how he used to think that if his eyes were closed, he was invisible. Of course, Nate was mistaken, and after playing along with him for a minute, I grabbed him out from under the table.
I may have matured since those days, recognizing that just because I don’t look at something doesn’t mean it’s not there, and doesn’t mean that it can’t see me. But lately I’ve been realizing that I haven’t matured as much as I thought I have. When it comes to conflict in my life, I can often take the same approach as my 3 year-old: “If I can’t see it, then it can’t see me.” I have noticed how often, when I am faced with a difficult assignment or a challenging person, my brain quickly wants to get it out of my consciousness, so that I don’t have to consider it or do something about it. After all, if I can’t see it, then I must be invisible and it will eventually go away, right?
Now, that behavior may be cute in a 3 year-old, but it is downright cowardly in a 35 year-old. As the Proverb quoted above says, “the wicked man flees though no one pursues.” When I hide and run away from conflict, I am like a wicked man fleeing from nothing. And as Peter says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Satan, like a lion, loves to roar in those areas that provoke the most anxiety in us, trying his best to scare us from trusting in our God so that we run away from His will for us. But if we are aware of his tactics, then we can do what James exhorts us to do: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
Just because I keep something out of my mind or my vision does not mean it goes away. Just because I hide does not mean I am invisible. Better by far to take courage, trust in the Lord, and come out into the light of God’s will, so that I might walk in His strength.
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