Katherine Goble/Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson probably never dreamed that their lives would be made public and so had to be content with only them and those around them knowing the value of what they had brought to the NASA table.
Likewise, there are many people today who have made invaluable contributions to their field who continue to go unrecognized. Add to that number of people who think their contributions are nominal or not valuable at all. The truth is we don’t know, and may never know, what place our small part has played in the bigger picture.
The same could be said of our Christian life. We may never know in this lifetime if our words or actions have affected someone else. While we often see the effect that the internationally, nationally, and locally recognized figures may have, we must not underestimate the role our one on one interactions may play. In that sense we are all Hidden Figures.
But we should not be discouraged nor dismayed by that. In fact, Matthew chapter 6 reminds us that if our motive for acting righteously, giving, praying, or fasting is to be recognized by man, then we already have our reward, and it is only a temporal one.
James tells his readers to ‘humble yourselves the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (4:10), and Peter echoes this same advice in I Peter 5:6 but says “God will lift you up in due time.” (Emphasis mine)
The three women of Hidden Figures lived more than sixty years without the world knowing their stories, but obviously God felt that 2016 was “due time” that the world was in on the secret. May the humility, work ethic, and contentment of these three ladies and the many who worked with them be both an inspiration to us and a reminder that while the world may never know what our lives have accomplished, God does.