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The Hidden Life | Charles E. Orr

The Secret Things of God

“Secret things belong unto the Lord our God.”* (Deuteronomy 29:29) A secret is something known only to one or to very few. Many things are known to God which are kept secret from man, but all man’s secrets are known to God. It pleases God, however, to reveal some of His sweet secrets to man. Those who love God and serve Him faithfully have the blessed privilege of knowing many things of God and heaven that others do not know. God “revealeth his secrets to his servants.”* (Amos 3:7) Jesus said that He would make Himself known to us as He would not unto the world. Oh, how blessed to come near to Christ and have Him tell us some of the precious secrets contained in those mysteries hidden for ages! The angels knew that the mystery of salvation contained many precious things, for they desired to look into it. The revelations of Jesus are heaven to the soul. How the heart that has heard the voice of the Lord longs to know more of the secret things hidden in Him! Such a heart will seek after Him; it will cleave to Him; it will rest only when in His presence and learning more of Him, seeing more of His love, and tasting more of the sweetness of His life.

God usually speaks in a “still small voice,”* (1 Kings 19:12) and hence to hear Him one must necessarily come very near to Him. God has a secret place in which He tells His secrets. It is only those that “[dwell] in the secret place of the most high”* (Psalm 91:1) that can know the secrets of the Lord. If you would know much of the secret things of God, you must live near Him. The Lord has a secret tabernacle, and it is down in that secret place with all the world shut out that He tells His secrets. It is a narrow passage that leads to this secret pavilion. Houses and lands must be left behind. Those hearts to whom houses and lands can talk cannot hear the still, sweet voice of Jesus. The voice of the Lord might be saying, “Come to me in a quiet hour of prayer”; but houses and lands would be saying, “You will not have time; we must have your service.” If you would hear God speak, you must leave this world so far behind that you cannot hear it when it speaks.

The way into the Lord’s secret pavilion is so narrow that father and mother, brothers and sisters and friends, must be left behind. Jesus may speak; but if you are not deaf to the voice of father or mother, you may not hear Him. Children also must be left behind. God may be calling you to a secret place where He can tell you secret things. It may be far from home; it may be over the stormy seas; but father, mother, brother, sister, or children may talk so loudly to your heart that you cannot hear God’s voice. “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him.”* (Psalm 25:14) To fear God is to keep His commandments (Deuteronomy 5:29).

To enter into the secret chamber of God, your own life must be left behind. Self must be crucified. Oh, how many dear children of God have failed to hear the secrets of the Lord because of the clamorous voice of self! Jesus is talking to your heart, saying, “Here is one of My poor, needy ones to whom you can now give aid, and I will bless you and make you happy”; but that monster self sets up such a din and confusion that you cannot hear the voice of Jesus. So self must be crucified.

There are secret things of God to be learned all along the Christian way. We are to grow not only in the grace but also in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus. It is not in the greatest affairs and concerns of life only that we need to know more of God; but many, I am persuaded, also need to know Him better in the little happenings and circumstances of everyday life. Early in my Christian experience I was taught a precious lesson from the Lord. I had two beautiful young cherry trees growing in my garden. One springtime my little boy climbed into one and to all appearance ruined it; but a voice seemed to say to my soul, “All things are of God; look unto Him and know that all things are for good, and you will see some of His secret things.” I cut off the broken branches and committed the tree into the hands of the Lord. I knew that if He was able to curse a fig tree and cause it to die, he was able to bless a cherry tree and cause it to grow. That tree grew as I never saw a tree grow. In a short time it was more beautiful than the other tree.

When Peter called the Master’s attention to the withered fig tree, he answered, “Have faith in God,”* (Mark 11:22) and then farther said, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”* (Mark 11:24) God will bless the affairs of your everyday life. Do not think anything too hard nor too small for God to do. If you want a mountain removed, ask Him and doubt not, and you shall have what you asked; or if it is only a grain of sand you want removed, ask the Lord and doubt not, and He will remove it. It is more difficult for some to have faith for the small things than for the great things. If you have but two pieces of meat, do not hesitate to give one piece to the needy. God can, and will if you ask, make the remaining piece go farther than the two would have gone without His blessing. This is a secret not known by everyone.

A poor Christian brother awoke early one morning and, calling to his wife, said, “If we should dust the flour barrel well, do you not think we could get enough flour to make bread for breakfast?”

“No,” the wife replied, “I scraped it out clean last evening and barely had enough to make bread for supper.”

The poor preacher lay there for awhile thinking how to get bread for his children. It came into his mind again that if they would dust the flour barrel they could get flour enough for breakfast. He arose and made a fire and then went—no doubt with deep feeling in his heart—to dust the flour barrel. After some dusting and scraping and shaking, he succeeded, to his wife’s astonishment, in getting enough flour to make bread for breakfast. She went to preparing the breakfast, and he sat down to meditate upon the things of God.

Just as she was ready to call her husband and the children to breakfast, she heard a rap on the door. She went to the door, and there stood a poorly-dressed man, who said, “Madam, can you give me something to eat?”

She went and informed her husband of a man’s being at their door begging for food. He said to his wife, “divide out my portion of the bread and give it to the man.”

“No,” she said, “I cannot do that. If you do not eat, I cannot.”

“Do, wife,” the poor preacher said, “as I have told you; give him my portion of the bread, and you and the children eat your breakfast.”

She did as requested. She and the children ate heartily. When they had finished their breakfast, she called to her husband, “Come, eat your breakfast; there is some bread left.”

He went to the table, gave thanks to God, and ate all he desired; and yet there was bread left. Such gracious doings of our blessed Lord are some of His secrets.

The Lord Jesus told a secret thing to Peter one day. He would not have told it to everyone, for some would have scoffed at Him. He told Peter to go to the sea and cast in a hook and to take the first fish that should rise. This fish, the Savior said, would have a coin in its mouth. “Take that,” He continued, “and [pay the tribute] unto them for me and thee.”* () Peter had sufficient faith to do as he commanded. What his feelings were as he went on his way to the brook, I will leave you to imagine. No doubt his heart was all expectation and wonder as he waited for a bite at his hook. But it was even as the Lord had told him. I do not know how came the coin in the mouth of the fish, but such doings are among the secrets of the Lord.

I will relate what to me was a most remarkable instance of God’s answering prayer and manifesting Himself to His own as He does not to the world. In the autumn of 1906 the Gospel Trumpet Company, publishers, purchased a large printing press. The cost of this press was something more than fourteen thousand dollars. I spoke of the matter to our home congregation and asked if they did not wish to do what they could in helping to pay for the machine. A poor sister, who is rich in grace, desired to have a part in the matter. She began to ask the Lord to give to her that she might be able to give something to his good work. It was one dollar she was praying for. The Lord gave her in a marvelous way little by little until she had ninety-five cents. She then earnestly sought the Lord for the remaining five cents. After prayer she sent her two little boys away to their work, which was splitting wood. One boy struck his axe into a block, cracking it partly open. In that crack he saw a shiny object. He called to his aid a larger boy, and they succeeded in getting the block of wood open; whereupon they found a silver dime. This had no doubt been placed in the tree many years before; for it had all grown over, leaving no scar. The Lord prepared this coin to answer this woman’s prayer, as He did the coin in the mouth of the fish that Peter caught.

God does not manifest Himself thus to the world, and I sometimes fear that many of His own dear children are not learning as many secrets as they might. How many glorious secret things lie deeper in God than I have gone, I do not know; only, I know there are many. My heart is reaching for them with avidity. Down, down into God; down into His secret pavilion; down where I can see more of His love to me; down where I can feel more of His Spirit’s power; down where His breathings are felt more sensibly upon the soul; down where that still, small voice rhythms more sweetly and can be more distinctly heard—this is the pleading of my soul.

God’s child has nothing to fear. The love of a gracious heavenly parent is over it. Have faith in God, and He will reveal Himself in many wondrous secret ways. Christ fed the multitude from a few loaves. He is the same today, and He will do the same for you literally. Draw near to Him, and He will teach you secret things.