Glorious Obscurity

by Andy Wood on August 5, 2014

in Ability, Five LV Laws, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Increase, Waiting


There’s no arguing that you’re busy.  No question that whatever you do or don’t get done today, plenty will be waiting for you tomorrow.  Yet somehow you can’t help but feel a little like Rip Van Winkle.  At least a part of your life has been asleep at the wheel, and you’re wondering how you got left behind.

Maybe it was your finances.  Maybe your relationships.  Maybe it was your professional life, or your grasp on what’s cool in the culture.  Regardless, you can’t help but feel alone, isolated from the pulse and vibrant sensations of a life of awareness and relevance.

You’re busy, but suddenly awakened to the fact that you’re living in obscurity.


You have the restless sense that something is broken, and you’re called to fix it.  Something’s missing in the church and/or the world.  The church and its message seem choked of life and the world and its values are increasingly hostile.  And there you stand, somewhere in the middle.  You have a sense of calling; a fire of truth burns in your belly and you’ll die if you don’t get it out there.

And yet, despite the confidence you have in your place in God’s plans, nobody’s giving you a chance to actually live it.  Nobody’s interested in what you have to say; nobody’s taking what you’re offering.  You’re reaching out in love to anybody who will listen, and they’re responding like birds to a scarecrow.

So there you stand, heart and arms outstretched in desperate obscurity.


 You find yourself wondering if things may have been different for you if you hadn’t made this or that mistake.  If you hadn’t fumbled away that opportunity or pushed away the people that loved you or frittered away the time, where would you be today?  You hear friends and family describe the awesome people of influence in their lives and you find yourself jealous of the respect they give to others when it could be – it should be – offered to you.

And even though you know you have just as much to offer as the guy with the microphone or the girl with all the attention – who’s half your age or has half your I.Q., there he or she stands in all their awesomeness.

And there you languish in obscurity.


Speaking of older, there you are.  Losing hair or physical strength doesn’t bother you much anymore.  But losing you children to their own adult dreams and visions does.  Losing your identity – at least your identity in the eyes of others – bothers you, too.  You’re mourning a little the loss of a man of woman you fear you’ll never be again.  And yet you haven’t reached out to embrace the person you are today, or are yet to become.

And somewhere in between, some dreams have begun to die.  Not unusual for this life stage.  But is there anything more awkward, more painful, than the death of a dream or the death of an idea of who you really are?  And with nothing obvious left to pursue, the silence can be deafening.

No course in school, no Sunday school lesson, no episode of Dr. Phil ever dared to prepare you for life in the caverns of obscurity.


 Calm down and come closer, though, and let’s grab a little perspective.  For a moment, let’s look past the temporary prosperity of the young, hip and restless.  See beyond the common, but stupid assumption that life is supposed to be linear…

See Abraham, flashing the faith that he would be the father of millions and the keeper of a great covenant.  Yet his first step was away from landed gentry and into the world of a wandering nobody.

Take a look at Isaac, whose name the Lord would forever carry as part of His own self-identity (God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). Yet Isaac’s life was squeezed between two larger-than-life personalities in his father and son.  His greatest claim to earthly fame was being born to a couple of centenarians and nearly being offered as a sacrifice.

Then there was Jacob, who artfully deceived his daddy and dodged his brother in claiming the covenant birthright.  Yet he was forced to labor in solitude for his con-man equal and to live most of his life in brutal grief at the loss of his soul mate and the presumed loss of his favored son.

And what of Joseph, the dreamer whose prophetic visions from God aroused both wonder and jealousy?  Before any of those dreams came true (and they all did), see him languishing in slavery and prison, isolated and alone.

See Moses, whose sense of destiny and calling led him to stand up for the Hebrew people.  But before Moses stretched out his rod and parted the Red Sea, God had other ideas, and sent him to care for a foreigner’s sheep as a fugitive for 40 years.

Take a look at David, fresh from being anointed as the new king of Israel, flush from an impossible victory over the giant of Gath, Goliath. Yet on his way to the throne he was forced to live in caves and deserts, running for his life and learning to rule over his spirit.

Even Jesus, whose birth was heralded by God’s angel armies and an onslaught of the minions of hell, returned to 30 years of a completely unknown life.

And Paul, who’s dramatic conversion completely changed the realities of the early church, went dark for three years, being re-taught by God everything he ever believed about scripture and truth.

Coincidence?  I don’t think so.


God delights in “overnight successes” that are anything but overnight.

He relishes the opportunity to take you “backwards”… to make you a nobody in the eyes of the world around you so that you can emerge – trusting not in your platform or popularity, but in His living power.

He glories in taking you to places of complete silence, where the only sound you may ever hear is the sound of your own breathing – until you learn to hear in Him the quietest of voices.

He longs to reveal Himself to you in the fellowship of His sufferings, where the Son learned obedience to the Father and where you learn to trust the heart of the Son.

He cherishes the vision He has of what you will become – you are his work of art, but before he unveils you, he hides you away from public view while he works on you.

So when you find yourself jaded and jealous, languishing and lonely, remember this: The greatest displays of life and power in all the Bible were the crowning touch for a God whose first order of business was to forge useful vessels.

Today, the names and faces have changed.  But the purposes and strategy of God haven’t.

Oh the glory of the waiting seasons!

Oh the beauty of being His nobody!

Oh the symphony that’s found in His silent seasons!

Oh the pain-borne splendor of His company in the furnace!

Oh the radiance of hidden workmanship, yearning to be revealed, but trusting in the work of the Master Artist!

Oh the wonder of a life in glorious obscurity!

Sarah August 5, 2014 at 10:52 am

I am speechless, this takes my breath away. What a fascinating article.This I will certainly be sharing.

Deanna August 5, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Wow. That really touched me. It was like you were writing it just for me. I am speechless and in awe.

Thank you for the ‘reset’.

Randall August 5, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Have you been reading the messages I’ve been sending to God? You’ve certainly been reading the message He’s sending to me.

Donna August 5, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Good stuff. Speaks of process and waiting. Quite a challenge in today’s
seemingly instaneous society.

Kristin D. August 6, 2014 at 11:12 am

Oh the beauty of being His nobody!…This is exactly what I needed to read/hear. I am living in obscurity right now. Oh the pain-borne splendor of His company in the furnace! I love the visual this brings to mind that He does in fact refine us and uses us when it it called to His timing. Great article. Thank you much for sharing.

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