Matney: The secret place
“The Secret Garden,” a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, tells the story of children who find healing, health, hope and happiness in a hidden garden. We can have access to a secret garden of blessing as well. The Bible calls it the “secret place of the Most High.”
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust” (Psalm 91:1-2).
What is this secret garden? Where is this secret place of the Most High in which we can find protection?
In Matthew 6:6, Jesus said, “When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
The secret garden is a quiet place of prayer and meditation. It is a private place where a person cultivates the mental and spiritual attributes of faith, trust and surrender to God’s will that opens the doors of healing, health, protection and blessings of every kind.
Jesus himself would often go out alone into mountain places or desert places and pray in secret. The apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
We can have a peace that transcends the chaos and confusion around us. When we lived in Grand Junction, we were self-employed and lived from paycheck to paycheck. The financial pressures were so intense that it brought us to a place of desperation. It was then God taught us how to meditate on his word, particularly on the person of Jesus, and how to enter into a place of peace.
Each morning my wife and I would sit in our living room, reading our Bible, praying and encouraging ourselves in the resurrected, living Jesus. Sometimes it would only take a few minutes of prayer, sometimes it took a couple of hours, but once I had entered into that place of faith and peace, I could leave the house and accomplish more in the next four hours than I had accomplished in the previous four days.
I often experienced everything falling into place; contracts, appointments, manpower, vehicles, payroll, etc. The Lord blessed us with ownership of our house and a rental property. We were honored in our church and were blessed with a beautiful daughter. I experienced protection from injury and danger. Life was good in the secret place of the Most High.
In Psalm 91:9-12, we hear: “Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
I learned that the secret place is found in intentionally looking to God as my refuge and dwelling place. In turn, he sends his angels to protect us from evil of all kinds.
“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14). The Psalmist wrote, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them” (Psalm 34:7).
Notice, this promise of protection is to those who revere the Lord. These promises are made because God loves us, but they are accessed and activated by our reverential love for him.
Psalm 91:14-15 states: “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.”
Because we love the Lord and desire to know his true nature, the Lord promises to deliver us, set us on high, answer our prayers, be with us in trouble and deliver us and honor us.
Psalm 34:8-11 states: “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing. Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord.”
We don’t need to fear others if we fear the Lord. We don’t need to fear the lack of finances if we make Jesus the Lord of our finances. We can have the joy of safety and healing as we enter into the secret garden, the secret place of the Most High.
Dan Matney is the pastor at New Life Assembly of God in Avon. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.