Hide and Seek
-David Hodge

Jeremiah 29:12-14 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 hiding.

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 Jonah).

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 the games!

Heavenly Father, 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.