And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your
heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD (Jeremiah 29:13-14a)
I know that most, if not all, of you have played this game before when
you were a child. You get a group of kids together and one is designated as
"it". He covers his eyes and counts to himself to a pre-agreed number in
order to give the other children time to hide. When the person who is "it"
reaches the pre-agreed number in his count, he is then free to go and seek
the other children in an attempt to find them in their hiding place. It is
a fun game and has been a mainstay of children's games for ages.
Of course this is the game of hide and seek. But sometimes the
circumstances in our lives, namely our Christian lives, resemble that of
this popular children's game, but with a much darker tinge to them. Much of
the time, we spend our time running and hiding from situations, people and
difficulties that cause us anguish, thinking that if we run far enough FAST
enough, that we will either outrun or outwit our troubles. But, much to the
contrary, and mostly to our dismay, these things always seem to seek us out.
They play a MEAN game of hide and seek in that they know right where to hide
when we are looking for them and they know right where we are when we are
We even play these games with God. Too much of the time, we spend our
time trying to hide from God or cover up what we have done or thought or
said. We do this, primarily, out of shame, which is a form of
pride-let-down syndrome. In this, we think ourselves strong enough or
clever enough to accomplish something in our own strength or wit or talents,
WITHOUT God, only to become embarrassed and ashamed when God shows us the
TRUE nature of ourselves. And we do this over and over and over again.
Look at what happened to Adam. Yes, he was deceived by Satan, that's
true, but it was his choice, and he made that choice IN SPITE of what God
had commanded. That's pride. It was the desire to be something OTHER than
what God wanted him to be...primarily, obedient. When God strolled through
the garden in the cool of the evening after Adam's fall and asked "Adam,
where are you?", He wasn't playing hide and seek. He wasn't even playing AT
ALL! He wasn't asking for His OWN sake either, because God knew EXACTLY
where Adam was...physically AND spiritually. He was asking for Adam's sake,
so that ADAM would know where HE was in relation to where God was.
What about Jonah? Here is a guy, a prophet of God in his own right and
calling, who gets a word from God to go to Nineveh and preach God's wrath on
this wicked city with hope of repentance. Now, Jonah did NOT want to go to
Nineveh and face 600,000 angry Assyrians, who DEFFINITELY do NOT like Jews,
and tell them that the God of Israel, not even their OWN god, was going to
bring judgment on them. So, Jonah ran. He ran to Joppa and hopped a ship
to Tarshish...hundreds of miles in the OPPOSITE direction. For what? To
HIDE from God. But we know the END of this story (Hint: See the book of
Why do we do this? Why do we continue to play games with God, our
favorite being hide and seek? He already KNOWS us AND where we are hiding.
Yet, we continue to run, to scurry about like mice in a kitchen when the
lights are suddenly turned on, diving for cover. And you know? The things
we hide behind are TERRIBLE hiding places too. Behind denial of God's
power? Umm hmm. This is a REAL sure place to hide as it is a mirage and
will disappear and leave you completely exposed to God's searing light.
What about self-confidence? Oh boy! You feel that you can't trust God, the
Creator of the universe, and you think you CAN trust yourself? Soon, a RUDE
awakening. And how about selfish pride? Nope! God just sees right through
that! No hiding place at all!
David, the ULTIMATE psalmist, said it this way: "Whither shall I go
from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up
into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art
there." (Psalm 139:7-8). There is absolutely NOWHERE we can run that God is
not there, and He knows EVERYTHING. So, how can you hide from God? And why
would you want to? He loves you in ALL you do. He cares for you no matter
what anxieties you cast upon Him (1 Peter 5:7).
"And what about those times when WE can't find God? Hmmmm? Where is
He THEN?" It is a common question. But the answer is simple also: God is
right where we left Him. He DOES NOT change (Malachi 3:6). When we fail to
see God in our lives or in the situations around us, it is because WE have
wandered away from Him. God has PROMISED to never leave you nor forsake you
(Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5, 1 Chronicles 28:20, Hebrews 13:5). So, if He
doesn't change (directions, position OR mind) and He promised to NEVER leave
us or forsake us, what does THIS mean? Simply stated, WE strayed...HE
stayed. NOW, who's playing games?
God plays a LOUSY game of hide and seek, by the way. He refuses to
hide! He's the guy that, before the person who is "it" is done counting,
jumps out of His hiding place, waves His arms wildly and announces to all in
the game "Here I am guys! Come get me!" He's the One who WANTS to be found
and these verses in Jeremiah testify to that fact. They are usually dwarfed
by verse 11, a WONDERFUL verse of promise from God (read it later), but
these verses offer just as MUCH of a promise to the weary wanderer. This
passage PROMISES God's attentiveness to the lost, harkening to their cries
and prayers. God promises that He WILL be found of you when you seek Him
with all Your heart. Does THIS sound like a person who WANTS to be hidden?
Finally, if we hide, it is in the darkness of sin that we seek refuge.
In the shadowy world of running from God, all we have is darkness to hide
us, as we said earlier, nothing else can. But God's marvelous light of His
glory chases the darkness aside, once again revealing us in our hiding
place. It is only when we are ready to step out of the darkness and into
His light of truth that we cease to hide any more and have fellowship with
Him. 1 John 1:7 tells us that "if we walk in the light, as he is in the
light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ
his Son cleanseth us from all sin." And if our sins are forgiven, why is
there a need to hide? If there is no sin, why should we be ashamed? Quit
I praise You this day for Your goodness and grace. Lord, Your love and
care embrace us and carry us when we cannot see You and invite us back when
we realize we are lost and search for You with all our hearts. I rejoice,
Lord, that You are a God who searches for US as hard, or HARDER, than we
search for You. In Your search, You paid the price for our sins in order to
win us back. You paid Your OWN price for us as You levied a penalty of
death on sinners and then satisfied the debt through Jesus' death on the
cross. I am forever grateful, Father, for Jesus' obedience and sacrifice
and willingness to do Your will.
I am humbled, Lord, when I think of how many times I have tried to hide
from You. When I think of the foolishness of it all, I feel, first, the
conviction of Your Spirit drawing me. Then, I feel the rush of the mighty
tide of love sweep over me as You reach for me across the abandonment of
humanness that I had mucked myself into. Lord, thank You for saving me from
myself. Thank You for saving me from my sins. Lord...just thank You.
I have nothing to give but myself for the debt I could not pay. By
Your redemption, I am free. Father God, I pray these things and honor You
and give You all praise in the precious name of Christ, our Lord...Amen.
this page viewed times.