The first time I heard the woman yelling, “Achtung! Zug nähert sich!” my heart started pounding and I quickly glanced around to see what was happening. I had just moved to Austria to study abroad but I wasn’t fluent in German so I didn’t understand why the automated voice at the train station was so stern. This message was different than the updates about departure times or ticket information. The loud warning was accompanied by bells which indicated that something big was happening. A few minutes later the train roared into the station and I understood. The train was coming. She wanted me to step behind the yellow line so I didn’t fall down into the tracks.
“Achtung.” I hadn’t thought about that word for a long time and was surprised when it resurfaced a few months ago. I was in a state of irritation because I had big plans and ideas and wanted to propel myself forward, but I felt the Lord tugging me back. I was ready to move and He kept saying, “Achtung! Attention! Slow down. Back up. Something is coming.”
I took my unrest to prayer and asked the Lord to reveal His heart to me. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Immediately I received an image of a large hand stretched wide open. I saw myself as a little girl and the Lord invited me to step up into His palm. I climbed up and laid down, and then He closed His fingers over me and allowed me to rest in His palm. He told me to abide in Him. And He directed my attention to Isaiah 49. “Before birth the Lord called me, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name. He made my mouth like a sharp-edged sword, concealed me, shielded by his hand. He made me a sharpened arrow, in his quiver he hid me.”
I had the sudden knowing that the fire I had in my heart to move forward was from God, but the timing was off. He had a calling for me, but before He could propel me into mission He needed me to abide in Him. He needed to refine me and weed out all of the ugly parts of my heart in the hidden places of His palm. He knew that if I were to propel myself forward in the way I wanted to, I would have lacked the spiritual maturity to handle my mission with grace.
With the image of climbing into His palm, the Lord showed me why He has hidden some things from me and what He means in Matthew 11:25 “At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.”
The parables aren’t hidden because Jesus is playing games. The parables are hidden because knowledge is power and they require us to respond. Jesus is protecting the mysteries of the Kingdom of God from the proud.
If the parables were explained, they would stifle my growth and they wouldn’t encourage me to enter into dialogue with God. I would have a knowing in my head because someone had explained the meaning to me, but I wouldn’t have a reason to steward the Word and allow it to transform my heart. If the parables were explained, they wouldn’t invite me to climb up into His palm to allow Him to continue the revelation.
Depending on the state of my heart, when I read the Merchant and the Pearl (Matthew 13:45-46) I can be the merchant in the story or I can be the pearl. Because of their hidden nature, I can come back to the parables over and over again and glean something new each time.
God is revealing the mysteries of the Kingdom to me in the hidden safety of His palm. I’m leaning into His promises. He has called me to mission, but he is inviting me to abide for a while. It is in the palm of His hand that God is molding me and shaping me. It’s where I will be patiently waiting until I hear His voice calling me, “Achtung! Attention! You are ready. It’s time to get on the train. Let’s go!”
Your sister in Christ,