Do we need a secret place?

Donta Nelson

September 26, 2016

What does it look like to cultivate a secret place with God? How do you walk in relationship with him? We tackle these questions and more below to help you walk in the simplicity of relationship with Him.

So what’s a secret place? Many of us have heard of the phrase, “with God in the secret place.” Do we actually know what it means? Is it you on the floor of your closet with a lamp and bible, or somewhere on a mountaintop alone in nature? Is it the audible voice of God speaking to you in some far away desert through a bush? What is a secret place and why have it? What’s so secret about it?

Fresh in my walk with God, I had neither a big enough closet nor mountains to hide away in. I’d always shared a room with someone, whether it be brothers, roommates, and now, my wife! I discovered that the existence of a secret place didn’t rely on location nor the people that surrounded me, but on the desire to want God.

I can remember sitting in my room as a teenager, with brief moments of being alone, not knowing what to say to the big guy upstairs, but knowing that I could sit there – feeling no pressure to say the right things, but to allow my heart to search for Him. It is here where my reality of God became more than some idea, He became a person. It is here where I found Him worthy of my affection in moments where I didn’t feel anything at all. I had no reason to perform. Only He who loved me unconditionally, was watching. His presence became my source of life. It is where I found my courage, and where I let go of my shame. His presence is Him present. And when He’s present, we can’t help but to think differently!

“The secret place can have structure, but giving Him room to breathe on you is what changes you forever!”

I never ventured away from Jesus once I’d given my life to Him. But throughout my walk, I began to discover a pattern in my attempt to cultivate my secret place with God.

I noticed a difference in how I interacted with the world around me based on my personal time with God. In times when things weren’t going so well, it would be very clear if I’d been with God in the secret place. It showed up everywhere – in my conversations, in my thought life, and in my reactions to life.

For instance, on one beautiful evening, I was driving my first car home after a fresh encounter with God in corporate worship that day. As you may know, coming out of worship makes you feel like you can walk into a mall and lead everyone to Jesus with Heaven’s host beside you! Well, my incredible passion quickly turned into distress as my car begin to slowly run out of gas because I’d forgotten to fill it up earlier that day. With no gas station in sight, I pulled over to some random side street. My overflowing joy began to leave, being replaced with anger and frustration. I remember being so upset that when cars passed by, I “mean mugged” them, hoping they’d look away from my shameful moment. Fortunately, my gracious girlfriend, now wife, brought me gas and I continued on my way home.

That night, I began to ask, “how was I so shaken in a moment?” “Where did my peace go so quickly?” It’d felt like in a moment, I’d fallen into sinking sand, gas-less and without peace. Faithfully, God met me in my moment of shame and embarrassment regarding how I’d reacted to a situation that was so easily resolved. He began to reveal to me where my time was being spent in the previous weeks before. At this time, I was in 2nd year school of ministry at Bethel Church. He told me that I was so focused on finding God in the sanctuary that I’d stopped looking for Him in my room! This realization gripped my heart and sent me on a journey of seeking Him with my whole heart!

That was almost 2 years ago now and I can say that I’ve grown to love being with Him, especially when no one is around. From encounter to encounter, it looks differently. The secret place can have structure, but giving Him room to breathe on you is what changes you forever! More than the structure, He desires to know us as friend. Communing with Him doesn’t have to look like some well-put together business meeting. It can be relaxed and quiet. It also doesn’t have to be some candle lit room with scriptures on the wall. It can be a walk in the park. God there, is the goal. That even if you hear nothing, that you would dare to speak to the God who listens to us.

There has been so much He’s revealed in the search to know Him in a deeper way. Perception affects how I respond to the world around me. My deepest realities are formed by what occupies my heart the most. It is the moments spent with God that shapes a person. When no one else is watching, when every other voice becomes silent, and when His whispers are louder that the devil’s shout. It is in these moments that we find our true selves.

The day I stepped into my car, into a situation that would cause so much frustration, was the day that I stepped into a place that would bring so much fortitude.

In a moment. It dawned on me, Presence brings perspective!

May you find Him in the secret place.