As children, we play at hide and seek. But, we hide, genuinely hoping that someone would actually seek us.
The simple, uncomplicated mind of a child will often leave them helplessly going back to the exact same hiding place where they were found just moments earlier. I cannot begin to count the number of times we “found” our son hiding in the laundry hamper with a pile of dirty clothes pulled out and laying on the floor beside him.
Yet, even in the failed attempt at hiding, there are the squeals of joy when found because that was the true goal from the beginning. The child wanted to be found more than they truly wanted success in hiding. Imagine the pain of hiding indefinitely only to learn that no one was actually seeking.
The game is modified when we play alone. We pretend to hide … hiding from others by sneaking around yet observing at a distance the lives of those around us. But while we childishly carry out the business of hiding, we only slightly veil our true intentions of seeking. We want to know the going’s on of others, so we hide with the intent to explore. We hide close enough to outright observe others in the conduct of their own life.
In part, we hide in an effort to seek our identity, to see ourselves in comparison and relationship to the world and people around us. We hide because we’re searching to know who we are, if anyone else is like us, and if anyone truly cares. We hide to observe others while we try to determine who we are.
As adults, we still hide. In different, more sophisticated ways perhaps, but we still hide. We hide behind a smile when, inside, we’re broken, scared, and hurting. We hide by avoiding certain people, topics of conversation, and even duties and responsibilities. We hide by pointing out the faults of others rather than addressing our own issues. We can even hide while serving, staying busy doing good things, to avoid what we know we should do.
Often, we hide to avoid facing God in confession, repentance, and worship. We also hide because we don’t want to submit to His calling. All the while, even while hiding, we really want to be relieved of what frightens us, or hurts us. We really want to be found.
It was no game when Adam and Eve hid from God in the garden with fig leaves and among the trees. It was no game when God came walking through the Garden of Eden, calling out to Adam, “Where are you?” (Gen3:9). God didn’t ask to learn. He called to have Adam confess, to stop hiding, to admit his need for God and to seek after Him.
Thankfully, God seeks after us. God is always on mission, seeking to find those who are lost and to restore the broken. Rather than hide, may we desperately seek after God and to see His glory (Ex 33:12-18), asking His forgiveness (1 John 1:9), seeking to know Him and the power of His resurrection (Phil 3:10). As God is seeking us, we must follow hard after Him (Ps 63:8).