My granddaughters, now 6 and 4 years old, love to play hide and seek with us when we have opportunity to watch them. If Donna and I are both there, we each team up with a granddaughter. When the girls were younger they wanted to restrict the game to one floor of their home, but now that they are older the entire house is open territory. They love the surprise factor involved in both the hiding and the seeking. At times, while hiding, my little partner almost quivers with anticipation as we try to avoid detection. At other times, especially when they were younger, both Donna and I would purposely overlook the other team even when we knew exactly where they were crouching…behind a door, in a closet, under the bed, or beneath the blanket on the couch. Extending the anticipation made the finding even finer.
Hiding and seeking has been part of the human experience even from the very beginning. During times of war soldiers and civilians often hide from the enemy. The success of the Underground Railroad was dependent on the ability of runaway slaves, with the assistance of abolitionist activists, to hide under the cover of darkness or in cellars of homes as they traveled hundreds of miles to eventual freedom in the North.
We may be able to hide from human opponents, but it is folly to try to hide from God. Our first human parents demonstrated this. After both Adam and Eve sinned by partaking of the forbidden fruit, they tried to hide from the presence of God:
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
(Genesis 3:8-11 ESV)
Now we can be sure of one thing…the LORD knew exactly where they were. Adam and Eve may have thought they could successfully hide themselves from the omniscient Creator, but there is no hiding from God. I often quoted this proverb to students in school or to my own children at times when they were obviously skirting the truth:
The eyes of the LORD are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.
(Proverbs 15:3 ESV)
We are like Adam and Eve and foolish children when we deceive ourselves into thinking we are secretly getting away with anything. It is possible to fool people, but it is not possible to fool the One who will judge humans and angels. I believe God has placed a conscience in us and His Holy Spirit activates our consciences to even higher sensitivity when we place our saving trust in His forgiveness. This is why we should always be ready to confess our sins to God and one another. He knows every thought and action, and it’s best for us to agree with Him about the sinfulness of sin in our lives. A clear conscience enables us to live a joy filled life.
One more thing should be noted about God and hiding. Frequently God does the hiding. He hides himself from us at times to show us how much we need His care. He may use difficulties, loneliness, despair, and suffering as prompts for us to seek Him in humility when we come to realize we are nothing without Him.
“For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing anger for a moment
I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the LORD, your Redeemer.
(Isaiah 54:7-8 ESV)
With God, hiding and seeking is not a game. May He grant us the grace to seek Him and His will, with a repentant heart, especially during those times when He seems to be hiding from us.