When God hides from us, He is trying to draw us into His presence.
So while manifestation takes place in our reality; hiddenness happens in His. And hiddenness is what draws us into a new place in the Spirit.
Because of this, we all have to learn to walk by faith, not by sight.
When God is manifested toward us, He is so in a tangible way. We can feel Him. We access Him emotionally. We laugh, we cry, we feel as His peace declares His heart and joy in us. His love often overwhelms us, and we feel gratitude and praise as a tangible expression of our response to His Presence.
Rejoicing, thanksgiving, praise, worship, and adoration—they are all physical indications that our emotions are fully engaged in blessing the Lord.
That’s because God’s manifest Presence is both physical and emotional. It sets us free to experience God fully.
However, when God is teaching us to walk by faith, not by what we feel, He withdraws from our emotions. He hides from our feelings9. So instead, we have to take on trust that He is with us. In His hiddenness, we learn to believe that “God will never leave us or forsake us,” and we establish a pattern of simple faith that “He is with us always.”
God has not left us — he has only withdrawn from our feelings for the purpose of establishing trust and simple faith. It’s a tough lesson initially, but also immensely rewarding. It is a key discipline to learn, and one that the Holy Spirit is so brilliant at teaching us.
Perhaps the simplest way to explain it is to say that:
Manifestation is a time of blessing, while hiddenness is a time of building.4
God desires to bring us through seasons of hiddenness because He wants us to learn the discipline of walking by the Spirit. So in times of manifestation, we cannot hear deep truth. If we do hear God speak while we are enjoying a season of His blessing, we don’t always fully understand what He is saying. Times of manifestation are about experiencing God. They are about moving in a flow of whole body ministry — participating in the peace, joy, and life of God.
Hiddenness, on the other hand, is one of the most exciting disciplines that we can learn in the realm of the Spirit. When we learn how to access it and live in it, suddenly everything makes sense forever. Everything falls to us. All the things which come against us only enable us to go deeper into God, because we have learned the discipline of living in His presence.
A man involved in hiddenness, looking for meaning, is a delight to the Lord.
Isaiah understood God’s ways, and all his attention was upon God and what He would do. Therefore, understanding hiddenness and manifestation will train us in how to determine the windows of the soul — those moments when we perceive what is happening in the spiritual realm.2
Developing an ongoing walk with God by the power of the Holy Spirit is a discipline. Practicing faith is also a discipline, and hiddenness is God’s way of establishing that discipline in our life.
Once established, it prevents the enemy from invading our life and touching us, because regardless of our emotions, we know how to find the presence of God.
May we learn to find rest and constant assurance of His presence and His commitment to us.