It was the end of a long day. The team of 46 students and chaperones had arrived safely in Costa Rica for a week long mission trip. I had not really slept the night before, as one can relate to the night before a big adventure and I had counted to 46 more times than imaginable as every teacher could understand. But there we were, safe and sound in our matching bright yellow t-shirts armed with our Bibles and markers. Markers? Yes, we were finishing the day with a prayer and devotion and I had given everyone a marker. I asked the students before our prayer time to sign each other’s shirts. In just a few minutes the shoulders, back, and sleeves of the yellow shirts were covered with the signatures of each team member. Those signatures were designed to serve as a reminder that throughout the week we were one team with one purpose in sharing the love of Christ. Signing the shirt signified that no matter what, we had each other’s backs!

I ran across a picture of this team recently in those bright yellow signature covered shirts and was reminded of all the Lord did on that trip. I am all the more reminded of how many times not only do I feel supported by the brothers and sisters I have in Christ who surround me on a daily basis, but that the God of the Universe, my Lord and Savior watches over me. Isaiah the prophet spoke of this truth when speaking to the Hebrew people on their commission when they were released from captivity.

For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight, for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard”  Isaiah 52:12,( ESV).

As members of the body of Christ may we write our names on each other’s bright yellow t-shirts as a commitment to support each other as we pursue kingdom work. All the while knowing our loving and gracious Lord goes before us and is truly our rear guard.

Remember when Jesus said, “Consider the lilies, how they grow?” (Matthew 6:28)

He was teaching His disciples a lesson on trust and anxiety and leaving worrisome things in the hands of their Creator.

But how do lilies grow?
In a hidden place.

Right now, winter is passing into color, and a brighter world is springing up out of nowhere.

But where did this color and beauty come from?
From the dark.
In the hidden place.

This beauty and color and life out of dormancy is springing up from the dark.
From a hidden place.

Oswald Chambers once said,

We imagine we are to be always above ground, shedding perfume and looking beautiful; or being continually cut and put into God’s show room to be admired, forgetting altogether that we cannot grow and be cut at the same time. We cannot be lilies unless we have spent time in the dark.”  (Still Higher for His Highest, p. 46)

We could never hope to be a source of joy and life and blessing until we’ve spent time in the dark.
Unless we’ve been in the hidden place.

I was there when these tulip bulbs were planted—small, round balls of hope buried deep in the dark for a brighter day. Buried deep in a hidden place, bearing up under the snow and cold of a different season, yet sharing life today.

Life buried deep in a hidden place will always shed joy and life and hope for others.

Because the hidden place of life in Christ is a place of peace and growth we could never experience any other way.

Consider your hidden life with God,” Oswald Chambers also said.

That hidden life will bear up in the darkest seasons. That hidden place will always grow life that can’t be ignored.
Your hidden life in Him will bless others.

He will bless through you as you lie dormant in His embrace continually and contentedly.
Living for Him. Loving Him. Seeking His face. Resting in Him.
In the hidden place.

Your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3)