Nature was a big part of our childhood. We loved to be outside, so it was a thrill when we moved out of the city to a new subdivision springing up from land that had grown crops and fed horses and cows for over a century. A small creek ran through the bottom land behind our row of houses, and there was an ancient oak tree with its branches like big arms stretching out over that creek, hidden from view until you reached the bottoms.
If the neighborhood parents were aware of the tree they never said so. But for all of us kids, it was a hidden treasure. We’d climb it after a rain storm and watch the creek waters swirl below, getting ever higher. There was the remnant of a forgotten fort in one of its large branches where we all spent time hanging out. When a tornado came through our area in 1976, that oak stood strong, rooted in its place.
Then the day came that more land was cleared and filled in to make way for another group of new houses. The tree was no longer hidden, but visible from the street. Slowly, we stopped going to the old oak to climb its heights and while away the afternoon in the fort.
Some things are hidden because of their value and importance. Other things are hidden because of their place. Sin is hidden because of its darkness. Sometimes, we even “treasure” a sin in our heart. We hope to hold onto it, deceived into believing that it will always stay hidden. But those things which we try to keep hidden eventually come to light:
You have placed our wickedness before you,
Our secret sins [which we tried to conceal, You have placed] in the [revealing] light of Your presence. Psalm 90:8
Hidden sin holds us captive, taking us deeper into its clutches like gnarled old branches in an ancient tree. Soon, it takes root and we find that we cannot break free on our own. But God offers forgiveness and strength to help us when we bring sin into the light of His Presence. Trust Him with what is hidden.