Whenever my son played hide-and-seek, he would always hide in the same spot. He would tuck himself behind the laundry basket and cover himself with towels. Whenever I walked past him, declaring in wonderment that “Nope, he’s not in this room” a small giggle would escape his lips.
You might think he misunderstood the goal of the game, but for him the very purpose of hiding was to be found. If I took too long to make it into the laundry room, he would call out “Daddy?” – beckoning me to search for him. See, he didn’t want to play the game alone. His purpose was never to outlast me. In fact, as much as he enjoyed hiding, he enjoyed my presence more. In his mind, hiding was something that brought me to him. Hiding was fun and playful, and ultimately something that united us. It seems to me that “Hide and Seek” should be more appropriately called “Seek and Find”.
We often think that hiding is means to cultivate distance from God. For some reason we take on a belief that says God is perpetually angry or displeased with us, looking to cast us away for all eternity. Adam and Eve are a perfect example of this. They violate the only rule of the garden, feel the crushing weight of condemnation, and go hiding in the trees. Hiding becomes the means of avoidance not intimacy, escape not embrace, condemnation not comfort.
When we believe that God searches for us, only to remove us from God’s eye, we hide out of fear. God is that angry enforcer in the sky just looking for an opportunity to smite us. Can you imagine the sadness felt in believing that God has no desire for you, no love for you? Maybe you can. Adam and Eve cower in the trees of Eden because they simply cannot believe that the God whom they have offended could ever stand to be in their presence.
But scripture also talks about hiding as a way of intimacy with God. Psalm 17:8 says, “Keep me as the apple of your eye, hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Similarly, Psalm 27:9 says, “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling, he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent.” Hiding is a journey into the heart of God, a heart that is filled with compassion, delight, protection, and love.
This way of hiding recognizes that God, ultimately, delights over us. God searches us out to invite us into God’s embrace. In fact, we even see this with Adam and Eve. Even in their waywardness, God walks towards them, and calls out to them.
Do we really think that God did not know which bush they were hiding behind? Do we really think that eating the forbidden fruit caught God unaware? Like my son so eagerly covered by towels, I have no doubt that to the divine eye, Adam and Eve’s presence was fairly easy to spot. So, why ask them “Where are you?” and “Who told you that you were naked?” After all, if God’s ultimate desire was to render divine wrath upon them, surely God didn’t have to call out to them. Thus, God didn’t call out to them to dismiss them, but to invite them into God’s mercy. God was inviting them to hide, not in the trees covered by shame and guilt, but in God’s own presence covered by grace and love.
What might it look like for you to hide in God, rather than from God? Hiding ourselves in God means we disclose our hurts, our guilts and shames. And yes, this can be hard and dramatic. We disclose ourselves, not because God is not aware of our lives, but because in our confessions we place ourselves in the arms of the one who comes to seek and to save. In doing so, we release ourselves from what binds us, and we rob condemnation of its power.
Ask yourself, where, and for what purpose, are you hiding? Is there something that you are trying to keep away from the Lord? Like my son in the laundry room, God knows where you stand and still moves toward you. God calls out to you and invites you to hide in God’s loving mercy.
One thought on “It’s Not Hiding When God Knows Where We Are.”
This is such a deep expounding of the Word of God. I love it. I love it because it compels me to fall deeper into Him. To hide in Him fearlessly. To not hide because I AM weak , But to hide safely IN my weaknesses in Him in the certainty that He who loves me will over shadow me with and in His love. Here I am Lord! Amen! Thank you for your encouraging word today. Rev Kyle