Anonymous: Jesus’ hidden years … and yours, by alicia britt chole, published by Thomas Nelson, paperback, 184 pages

book review by rachel h t mendell

My counselor suggested this book. I was feeling worried about all the mistakes I was making and all the possible fall-out from my personal problems (and others closely related to me).

She told me that when we are working with God at changing how we do life, He protects us, He redeems our days, He hides us under His wings.

I was comforted and went home to buy the book. My counselor never steered me wrong about any book she suggested.

When the book arrived I dove in. Within the first two pages I was crying. This woman had been through stuff like me … she was talking to me … and she was showing me that Jesus had gone through the same things.

The book comes from the angle of feeling hidden, invisible. I have rarely been invisible. Being the oldest in my family, competitive and an attention junky, I have almost always been in the limelight. I always felt it was my job as “a talented girl” to be there … in front of everyone … 24/7. When I ran away or disappeared I felt so guilty. Being hidden was wrong, I thought.

But through books and friends I have learned that I am an introvert. Introverts need alone time to be healthy. This explained my many bouts of burn-out (which I also felt guilty about).

Chole cut through all those lies. She showed me how Jesus had hidden years … lots of them. She showed me that the wisdom Jesus had was not just granted because He was God, but rather learned and practiced, as a human learns, as I learned.

Jesus knew He had a purpose and Chole imagines how, when a child, He continued to ask His Father, “Now? Is it time?”

Jesus had to wait 30 years to realize His purpose. At 12 years old He got to go to the temple and wow the priests and scribes there, but afterward, He had to go home and practice obedience, not that He had done anything wrong. He is God. But the Bible says he learned to be obedient to his parents – His sinful parents.

This got me to thinking … If Jesus practiced patience and obedience for 30 years, then it must be a good thing for me to disappear for a while and practice patience (especially with myself) and obedience (to God and to my family and to others).

When Jesus emerges on the scene, He is ready. His wisdom is unbreakable. His purpose is unshakeable. He is not to be manipulated by man (Matthew 22:16). His obedience to God is solid. His insight is amazing. Yes, He is God, but he could read people’s hearts by how they acted toward others. Humanly speaking, that takes practice.

“anonymous” was a huge comfort to me. It’s okay if I’m not out making tons of money, wowing people with my knowledge, saving the world, teaching hordes of people, leading an army or influencing others. When God knows I’m ready He will give me the go-ahead, just like He did with Jesus (Okay, it’s time. Go get baptized. Then go out to the wilderness.) When I have learned to depend on God in the way He needs me to, He will give me my next mission.

Right now I’m not fancy or flashy or even striking on the outside, but, like a tree in the winter, hidden, I am still alive, still growing, still getting stronger, learning from God, praying, worshiping … and waiting.

“As with a child in the womb and a seed in the ground, God’s unanticipated move of hiding Jesus granted Him protected, undisturbed room to be and become. From God’s perspective, anonymous seasons are sacred places. They are quite literally formative; to be rested in, not rushed through – and most definitely never to be regretted. Unapplauded, but not unproductive: hidden years are the surprising birthplace of true spiritual greatness.” (p. 13)

Whatever season of life you are in, read “anonymous” … it will bless you, strengthen you and give you a new empowerment.

To see what’s up with alicia go to … http://aliciachole.com/alicia-writes/

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