Hide and Seek

Posted: July 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

In the beginning, life in the Garden of Eden was good. Food, water and beauty abounded. God took walks with the first couple. The unashamed nakedness of Adam and Eve reflected the innocence and transparency of their hearts and minds. Nothing was hidden. No secrets. It was a perfect communion. Right up until the devil’s bargain … then everything changed. “The man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’” Thus began the longest hide-and-seek game in history. The game is as long as the human race is old. The first time, we hid. Then it was God’s turn, and we have been hiding from each other, and seeking each other ever since.
There are a lot of reasons we hide from God. Adam and Eve hid because they were ashamed. When they ate the forbidden fruit, their innocence was lost. Our feelings of inadequacy and shame cause us to hide from God. Sometimes we hide from God because the cost of following Him is too high. We are all rich in some way. We each have something in our lives that we treasure. Are we willing to give it up, or will we turn away and hide from God? Have you ever been angry at God? Have your prayers gone unanswered? Have you had to deal with suffering or tragedy in your life? Have you ever wondered why God is allowing your life to take the particular course it is on? Have you turned your back on God … have you hidden from Him? I think we have all been there a time or two in our lives.
So, the game goes on. Humans have hidden from God. Our hiding from God is easy to understand because of our sin. God has also hidden from us and that’s harder to figure out. I believe that God’s propensity for hiding from us is intentional … it is part of God’s nature, and it’s a critical element of the relationship between God and us. Why doesn’t God make his presence more obvious? Why doesn’t he make it so obvious that that nobody can possibly doubt His existence? Why would God give too many hints to ignore and yet keep Himself hidden? Could it be that God hides in order that we will seek him all the more eagerly? Could it be that God would do us more harm than good if he gave clear, unequivocal evidence to people whose hearts had never developed a deep longing for him? Could it be that hard questions do us more good than easy answers? We have a lot of questions about why God hides, and it’s good to struggle with those questions. Before God lets us find him, he first moves our hearts to question and seek and yearn for him. It’s truly a game of hide and seek: God hides so that we will seek him.
Are people who are just minding their own business, not even looking, ever surprised by Christ? Do people who are looking, but in the wrong places, ever end up finding Jesus anyway? Do people who miss out ever get another chance? Is it ever too late to begin looking for God? We know that God works in mysterious ways, mysterious to us because I don’t think it would be possible for us to come close to understanding God. After all, He is God. Sometimes God makes it obvious, with choirs of angels and a clear message, but most of the time He hides it and makes us look for it. One of my favorite scriptures is Proverbs 25:2, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” There are two parts of the game … hiding and seeking.
If you are not sure about God, you’ve got two options. You can ignore God and say it’s because he hasn’t given you enough evidence, or else you can take the evidence he has given as a call to keep seeking until you find Him. God often hides himself, but that’s not the real problem. The problem comes when we don’t seek him. One author says it’s like a child playing hide and seek, who finds a place to hide but then gives himself away by clearing his throat. The only way to miss finding him is if you’re not looking for him. God may hide, but he keeps giving himself away. He’s done marvelous things in creation that are more than enough to impress those who have eyes to see. God has done great miracles at crucial points of history, and he has recorded these things in the Bible to uplift and encourage all those who are open to his reality. God has taught great and profound wisdom in ways that convince and transform those who have ears to hear. But the creation, the miracles, and the teaching of Jesus remain obscure and hidden if you refuse to search and seek. What’s the best way to seek God? Well, if you’re playing hide and seek, you start by looking in a person’s favorite hiding place. What is God’s favorite hiding place? Well, it’s not in a logical proof or a miraculous display. God leaves some hints in those places, but God’s favorite hiding place is the cross of Jesus Christ. Nowhere is God more hidden, and nowhere is he more clearly revealed. The cross where Jesus died is the best place to find the reality of God, the love of God for sinners, and the justice of God against sin, revealed in a way that changes not just your mind but your heart and your life as well. Amen.

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