One summer day when I was about 13, some of my friends and I got together to spend the day in the woods. It was land owned by the family of one of the boys. I don’t remember the exact number but there were about 6 of us. We explored, climbed trees, fished, and just generally did what boys did. We got hungry and decided to fix our own lunch. We caught a chicken, killed it and cooked it over an open fire. Well, we half-cooked it; it was still almost raw next to the bone; it’s a wonder none of us got food poisoning. After lunch we continued our activities. Mid-afternoon, we came to a barbed wire fence. We crossed it and fairly soon came to a stock tank. For you non-Texans, that’s a pond. We were hot and sweaty so decided to go swimming.
We knew we were trespassing. We began stripping off our clothes. I was just about to get in the water when we heard a pickup coming our way. Somebody yelled “Run!” and we did. We scooped up our clothes and shot across rocks, sticks, and prickly pears. I think I still have stickers in the soles of my feet. We made it into the trees and bushes and hunkered down.
The pickup approached along a ridge above us and stopped. The driver yelled, for he knew where we were hiding: “Come on up, boys! I just want to talk to you!” We didn’t believe that. We knew we were in trouble, so we stayed still and quiet. After a short while he left, leaving us a warning: “Don’t come back here!” We got dressed and went home.
Several years later, I was married. One summer weekend, my wife and I visited her parents. We frequently went fishing when we were with them. This time my father-in-law said he wanted to take us to a new place to fish. A friend of his had invited him to come to try his luck on his ranch. We loaded up and drove over. We drove through the gate and stopped at the house. My father-in-law’s friend took us down the dirt road to a stock tank. We got out and started getting our fishing tackle ready. As I looked around, suddenly the place seemed mysteriously familiar. Then I realized – this was the land my buddies and I had trespassed on! This was the tank we had started skinny-dipping in! These were the woods we had hidden in! This was the place we had to run from and never go back to! I felt a little startled at this, but I knew I was not in trouble. Didn’t have to run. Didn’t have to hide. Didn’t have to be ashamed. I was with the owner and was freely welcome to enjoy my time there.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” (Genesis 3:8-10)
For the joy set before him he [Jesus] endured to cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right had of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
…He [God] raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:20-21)
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6)
In him [Christ] and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12)
As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him [Christ] will never be put to shame.” (Romans 10:11)
In Christ, you don’t have to run, don’t have to hide, don’t have to be ashamed.