This game, as we all know, is called "Life."
Sometimes we hide. Sometimes we seek. Sometimes we struggle desperately to make it back home unnoticed. Sometimes we hide beyond the established borders and perhaps just wander on as darkness falls and the seeker calls out our name . . . along with "All in . . . All in . . . all come free." And the seeker waits beside the tree, eyes open, expecting all. He knows our name and cups his hands and calls out into the darkness. And on we hide.
If God is the seeker, he waits. People, on the other hand, may move on. There will be other games in other places with other players. In either case, whether you are hiding from God or hiding from people, or perhaps even hiding from yourself . . . hiding is a very lonely thing to do.
When my children were little, they would hide in plain sight, or, at the least, in plain sound. Once, one of them covered his eyes and pronounced that since he could not see me, I could not see him. I think sometimes we approach God that way. We cover our eyes and take a little time out, as if He can not see us because we choose not to see him.
Other times, one of my little ones would dash behind the nearest big chair and giggle and wiggle. Invisible but so uncontrollably happy at the prospect of being found that he would leave a vocal road map. The joy was not in the hiding, but in the being sought. And we do that to God too; we make intentional noises and pray that He will follow them and pull us from the shadows of the big chair and sweep us up like He is surprised and overjoyed. And He does.
But sometimes we duck and turn and weave and wander to points where we don't even know where we are. And then we dig so deep that it is like we want to make sure our cries are muffled. We're not so sure we want to be found. It's not that we think He can't. We just kind of like it out here in the darker places.
When I would find my children in their favorite spots after walking around a bit and pretending not to see them, perhaps even giving them a chance to run full-speed to "home," I would catch them. And, what would they say? "Let's do it again, Daddy!" They wanted "do-overs."
And we would. Again and again. Hider and seeker, trading places on occasion. My turn to giggle and wiggle and be caught running home.
Of course, they're all grown now and their hiding and seeking is between them and their Maker, as all Christians discover. They Adam and Eve themselves into and out of His presence. And, they, like me, most likely plead for their share of do-overs, which come in the form of forgiveness, God's response to confession and repentance.
I'm not a great cook, being fortunate to be married to one. I like to make a few things, Divinity being one of those. A couple of times a year I break out the Karo, beat up the egg whites and make the purest, whitest, dissolve-in-your-mouth candy. Or not. Much as I watch the candy thermometer to the exact degree, beat the egg whites to the stiffest and combine all the ingredients "slowly while beating," the Divinity sometimes turns in to a sticky mess or a hard chalky unappealing block.
Because everyone thinks I make "perfect" divinity, I just do a do-over. I dump out the inferior stuff and keep at it until it's as close to perfect as it can be. And no one sees the messes and the failures.
God wants perfection too. He didn't create us to be sticky-gooey or hard and chalky. We were intended to be a delight to all His senses. The recipe itself is perfect, but it seems to take a lot of doing-over to get it right.
In God's kitchen, that means a purifying process, a washing.
That is, if we don't just hide ourselves, which is certainly the first inclination when we have embarrassed ourselves and sinned again, perhaps, as had been said of me "against all of humanity."
We have a God who does not wander; does not turn a deaf ear; does not flinch. He doesn't hide. In fact, he surrounds us with His presence, which makes seeking Him simply simple. To not seek Him, we have to want to not seek Him. We have to deny Him.
And then hide from the only answer to it.
Now, to be "real," not hiding can be pretty lonely sometimes too. When I was habitually sinning and my depleted sense of self was searching for completeness through sexuality, I had many people in my life. I had those who knew the sinful me and accepted it as something beneficial to them. I had the closeness of those who knew nothing about my sin at all and accepted the face-value me. With me out of hiding now, many of both groups have run for cover. And . . . it gets lonely, as you will discover when you come from the darkness into the light and face the uncertainty of those who have discovered the "is it really true?" repentant you. The non-repentant ones who remain in darkness adopt a "who-are-you" attitude towards you because they no longer need you. Those who walk all the way through with you? What a gracious gift from God.
The light can be scary too. Things that were hazy in darkness can be brilliantly painful in the brightest light.
And then there is God.
Don't hide. Cry to Jesus. He is there.
Every game eventually grows old and we come in to get warm or seek rest. Hide and Seek -- once all the good spots have been discovered -- is just no fun anymore.
Hidden so well that even though everyone knows you're there, you just can't find the way back home? Follow the light.
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