in my usual place. I close the door and my room feels secure.
I start to read. The words ring in my ears with the sound of my own voice. I am the narrator, “Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them . . .” Of course, they’re not my words but I hear them in my own voice. I’ve been here before. The words continue, “. . . so that your giving may be in secret. The your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
Because I’ve come to this place often, a natural process begins. These words are as familiar as my morning coffee, yet each morning I can savor the taste and smell anew. I make a note in the margin of the book. “He sees in secret. He rewards.” I consider the fact he also sees the murder and adultery in my heart. Am I comfortable that he sees in secret? Apparently there is danger and reward in what he sees. Other people see only the surface. They reward, too, with smiles or words.
“Go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” The voice in my head sounds less like me. He’s telling me about my Father. He knows my Father better than I because I was separated almost from birth. Now that I’m grown I am trying to connect again. “Your Father,” he says, sees and rewards. Other people may see and reward, but it’s out in the open, when we can pretend to be anything we want. We can even pretend we have forgiven. Others might reward, but they do not see in secret.
I finish his words about my righteousness: he tells me to comb my hair, wash my face and fool my neighbors, “and your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” The voice is now completely his, offering assurance and revelation. He sees me, even in the secret place, and he longs to reward. I consider for a moment: could I trust anyone to see all of me, even in secret? Can I trust him? He says yes, and this is what I take with me when I open the door: “If you trust me to see you in secret, you will not need to be seen by men.”