“For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17 NASB)
One advantage of living on a small island with an extensive military presence was the chance to tour the impressive vessels. With three energetic boys there was always an interest in the latest demonstration of power sailing into the harbor. When a ship dropped its gangplank we were there waiting to be piped aboard.
Some ships were more impressive than others but each held its own unique features. As the boys and I strolled the decks and explored the belly and superstructure of each steel behemoth we tried to imagine life on board. Of course we always glamorized it as fun, exciting, saving the world and being seen as heroes wherever we sailed.
We imagined flying freedom missions from the decks of aircraft carriers. Sending an enemy to the bottom of the sea would be our mission while touring a submarine. Storming a beach to free a nation from tyranny became our goal on troop carriers. Serving the thankful needs of our comrades in arms gave us joy while looking over the machinery of a tender.
One day we toured a guided missile frigate. The man in charge of the three story launch platform spoke excitedly about its capabilities. “I can lock and load a missile in ten seconds,” he declared with a gleam in his eyes and pride in his voice. Immediately he manipulated the controls spinning the mount to demonstrate its flexibility and speed, no missiles of course.
The expected question soon arose from someone in the crowd, “Are these nuclear missiles?”
Immediately our guide’s appearance became staunch and empty faced as he repeated by rote, “I can neither confirm nor deny the nuclear capabilities of this vessel.” He waited a while as everyone nodded their heads and mumbled a chorus of “umm.” The capabilities of the vessel were well known but could not be discussed.
We like to keep secrets. We want to surprise people with our abilities. On the other hand we don’t want people to know our deepest secrets. We’re afraid of their response if they knew what we really thought or what we might do.
Jesus addressed this tendency and told us without mincing words there is nothing which will remain hidden. This is a sobering thought when I take an inventory of my own thoughts and activities. I would like to say, “I can neither confirm nor deny the sinful capabilities of this vessel.” My capabilities are well known but carefully hidden. How they are used may be hidden from the world but not from God.
Jesus also reminded us that our words decry the intent of our heart. Good speaks good, bad speaks bad. Sometimes we can hide what is inside by carefully weighing our words. While the sailor sidestepped the issue of weapons, we knew, even from his veiled response, the immense destructive power safely stored in the belly of the ship.
The same is true for us, as Christians. We can try to hide, try to veil the truth but it reveals itself even in our carefully crafted speech. Now, before we are called to action, is the time to clear out the destructive contents of our heart. Only through the revelation of the Holy Spirit can we see ourselves properly to know where to start and all that is hidden within.
“But I, GOD, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.” (Jeremiah 17:10 MSG)