I love how God speaks or shows you things and you don’t realise the immensity of it until He draws you back into those moments and paints a picture with them. Moments where you had revelations that seemingly didn’t fit into your understanding. Then in one moment you begin to realise how God is a previous God, as Graham Cooke likes to put it. He sees things ahead of time and he will give you something just at the right moment.
I’ve just had one of these profound moments where it suddenly feels like all the pieces I’m holding that I’ve been asking God about and waiting patiently on has suddenly been put together and made sense.
I’ve been puzzling recently why it feels like a bare and stripped back season and yet God’s voice has been very present – mainly when I look back, but increasingly in the present. I’ve felt a little like a contradiction because where it’s felt like a difficult season and I haven’t felt God’s presence, I have heard His voice. It’s like He’s present but He’s also not! It’s hard to describe. Whilst there have been many thoughts going around my head, and whilst I’m writing this post I also have the ideas for another 10 (and even have the beginnings of several of them as draft posts), the main thing that has been going around my head and this revelation I have had is about these seasons we go through.
My thoughts are that you have to know the season that you are in, in order to get the most out of it. There has to be a partnering with God. Often He leads you into a season for a purpose and the way we discover that purpose is pressing into Him.
It made me start to think about the season that I’m in. I’ll be honest and say that a couple of years back I was absolutely loving a time where God was so present. He was everywhere I looked. I just loved spending time with him and the season was very much about falling in love with God in an intimate relationship that had for so long been feeling dry, and where I was desperate to know and feel more. In this exciting time I applied for Training for Supernatural Ministry in Bedford, received all the money I needed to pay for the course and embarked on the adventure. I very soon found myself in what felt like quite a dark season where life was a big struggle. I couldn’t feel God’s presence and didn’t know what He was doing. I was disappointed that what I had expected to be an amazing time doing TSM with God turned into the hardest time of my life. Back in October I felt like I had a chance to escape that season, believing it was mostly about my circumstances. I went out one afternoon on a sunny day with my journal in tow with absolutely no agenda but to sit and ask God if there was anything He wanted to say. Whilst I pondered what I should say or ask I felt prompted to ask God what this next season was about. Straight away I got an answer that was a familiar voice as clear as an audible voice and yet not audible, saying “It’s about digging deep roots”.
I’m only now starting to understand what that really means.
Graham Cooke in his book ‘Hiddenness and Manifestation – What is really happening when God doesn’t seem to be present’, describes two seasons that we can go through in our walk with God. One where God seems very present and one where God seems to have withdrawn from us. The whole book was one of those recognition moments where someone had just spoken something that made complete sense of the situation I was in.
I was listening to a talk by Graham on this topic and it almost exploded my mind and left me in tears as I finally recognised what God is doing, why I am hearing God speaking but not feeling Him, and why He said to me it’s a season of digging deep roots. He described a time during the renewal in the 1990’s and he was at a conference to speak. There were people being prayed for and many people were all over the place, rolling on the floor, falling over etc. There were some people “that were doing a really faithful impression of the rock of Gibraltar”. Whilst most were on the floor there were a bunch of people that were still standing with seemingly nothing happening, so they took them next door to do deliverance which they had done most nights for the past month. Questioning this, Graham instead took them into another room and explained the seasons of manifestation and hiddenness. He said: “Tomorrow night I want you to go and buy a journal and come tomorrow night. When we ask people to come forward for prayer I want you to go into the other room and just lay on the ground because gods going to talk to you. Just start writing. You’re in a season where you’re supposed to be getting revelation, that’s your renewal. God wants to renew your mind, he’s renewing their hearts (talking about those manifesting). He’s going to give you brilliant thoughts, give you solutions, answers to prayer, give you revelations, show you something about himself. Enjoy it. Have fun!”
When God had said to me the season was about digging deep roots I knew instantly it was about digging deep into Him. I know it was about receiving fresh truths that would increase the stability of my foundations. Where God had done so much in my heart – I had literally fallen in love with Him, He was now wanting to do things in my heart. Graham continues to say: Hiddenness is where God withdraws from your emotions to teach you how to walk by faith. But it’s more than that. He withdraws from your emotions so that He can actually show you things. When Jesus is present you can’t receive deep truth because he’s the biggest distraction there is. When God manifests himself to you He shows you his heart. When he hides from you He pulls you into a quiet place and shows you his mind, shows you His will, shows you his thinking, shows you what He’s seeing”.
You need to know what season you are in because there is something He wants to give you. Sometimes it’s a season of manifestation where God just wants to captivate your gaze. He draws you in because He wants to enjoy you are and for you to enjoy who He is. Then there are times of hiddenness where He draws you in deep so He can anchor His truths deep within you.
Over this past season I have recognised increasing comparison growing in my heart as I have observed people around me who are in season of manifestation. I have found myself longing for the same season, which has then robbed me not only from celebrating with them but it has made me increasingly lonely and missing what God has for me. I have been moping around and longing for the change in season. But actually, what God has been showing me is that He has some VERY exciting things to show me. In Luke 24 on the road to Emmaus, when Jesus appeared but had hidden His identity from them, He revealed the meaning of the prophets’ words. The disciples had the most obvious change of seasons from manifestation to hiddenness when Jesus died on the cross. He literally disappeared from their lives and they were left to process all that had happened. They were moping saying “we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel”. Whilst in this hidden state He interpreted the whole Old Testament to them: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Before the crucifixion Jesus was trying to teach them things but they were captivated by His presence. It was only when He was gone and they were in a season of hiddenness that He could start to join the pieces of the puzzle together for them so that they could understand deep truths.
If you are in a season of hiddenness, be encouraged. God has drawn you into this season because He wants to go deep in your being. He wants to show you some things about himself and draw you into an adventure. He is always there, even when you don’t feel Him.
“God invented hide and seek. In manifestation he seeks us. In hiddenness we seek him with the guarantee that we will find him when we learn to seek wholeheartedly.” – Graham Cooke
Click here to watch Graham Cooke talk on hiddenness and manifestation at Bethel ‘Piercing the darkness’ conference. Free on GodTV website.