According to the dictionary, some of the purposes of a mask are to conceal/hide, misdirect, and protect. Children start young when they plan their Halloween costume to portray themselves as a Disney character or a frightening figure disguised to startle or to scare. Until recently these costumes would include a mask to conceal the wearer’s identity. Now parents are cautious about masks because the wearer’s decreased line of sight could be hazardous.
Actors, especially in those in years past, wore elaborate masks. Revelers in Mardi Gras often don feathered, bejeweled masks. Of course, the main character in one of the best known musicals now, The Phantom of the Opera, covers his disfigured face with a startling white, asymmetrical mask.
Masks are worn to hide and conceal the face when engaging in nefarious activities. Bank robbers cover their faces to avoid recognition by another person or by security cameras. This makes identification hard to determine and enables the perpetrator to escape detection and punishment.
Figuratively speaking, many people cover up with a virtual mask when they do not wish to reveal their true thoughts, emotions, or personality to others. This can range from “putting on a happy face” to cover sadness and worry from others or covering up parts of their thoughts and personality to mislead others or alter their thinking.
There is a commercial on TV for a medicine to help with depression. It pictures a woman battling depression but covering it up by raising a large white mask between her face and each person she meets. Have you found yourself doing the same thing? I have. I have worries and concerns that seem to be overwhelming to me, but I know many people who are struggling with their own troubles and I don’t want to trouble anyone on my behalf. In Galatians 6:2 we are instructed to “carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” One of the best helps for someone like that is pray with and for them, praying for wisdom from God in making decisions and for peace from God when the troubles are at their worst.
Now we are in the era of coronavirus when everyone is either encouraged or required to wear a mask for protection for themselves or others. The informative announcements explain that we are to wear a mask to protect the people around us and those around us will hopefully be kind enough to reciprocate. No one wants to become COVID positive. This reminds me of Matthew 19:19 when Jesus asks us to love your neighbor as yourself.
No mask, no cover up can ever hide you from God. Our gracious, omnipotent God can see through any subterfuge. David, in Psalm 19:12 petitions God to “forgive my hidden faults.” You might even think you are hiding or excusing your faults from yourself, but you cannot mask them from God who sees straight into your heart. Isaiah 59:2 says, “Your iniquities have separated you from your God.” I like the expression “when you reach out for God and you don’t feel him near, it was not God who moved.” God is always available to us when we seek Him.
God never masks His face from us. He is always present when we turn to Him in belief. 2 Corinthians 4:6 reads, “For God who said, ‘Let light shine in our hearts,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”
So there is no mask necessary when interacting with God. Let His love shelter, sustain, and surround us.
The chorus of an old hymn entitled “Hiding in Thee” says,
Hiding in Thee,
Hiding in Thee,
Thou blest “Rock of Ages”
I’m hiding in thee.