Hide and Seek – Who’s Hiding from Whom?
To the Called Out Ones of Jesus Christ (and to all those looking for what is real),
Do you remember playing the game Hide & Seek when you were a child? How fun it was to hide and try to be the last one found? I don’t know about you but I didn’t particularly like to be the seeker because you had to do it by yourself and, especially if it was dark, it was kind of scary because you never knew when someone was going to jump out in front of you. But the thrill of the “hunt” was always exciting regardless of which side you were on.
Do you sometimes feel like you play a game of hide & seek with God? Does it sometimes feel like He’s hiding from you and you really have to look to find Him? Does it seem to you that He’s off in some distant part of the universe and that you have to do something – fast and pray or shout hallelujahs or go to an all-night prayer meeting or something – to get His attention?
Well, honestly, the Bible does seem to indicate this in some places. In Isaiah 55, we’re admonished to “seek God while He may be found.” And in Jeremiah 29, we’re told “we will find Him when we seek Him with all our hearts.”
But is that really the way it is? That God is “hiding” from us so that we need to seek Him out?
Despite these two verses and other like them, I’d like to suggest that there is more to the story than this and it is actually we that are the ones that are usually hiding.
Remember what happened immediately after Adam and Eve sinned? The bible says that the Lord came into the garden in the cool of the evening to visit with them but they were hiding – “they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. And the Lord called to the man, ‘Where are you?’” And, no, they weren’t playing hide & seek. This was serious business. Something terrible had happened where they were now ashamed and afraid of God. They had changed. They believed a lie. They no longer saw God as their loving Heavenly Father. They were afraid and thought they needed to hide from Him.
Later in our story, God was seeking to talk with His children, the children of Israel, after He had rescued them from Egypt and was giving them the 10 commandments, it says:
“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites this: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.” Exodus 20:18-23
How sad that must have been for God to have His children say ‘we don’t want you to talk with us.’ Once again, although God was present and pursuing us, we rejected Him and wanted to put distance between (hide ourselves from) Him and us.
So, who’s hiding from whom? It is we that hide (keep distance with) from Him. And, He is the One who came seeking us. He came to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10) And, we are the lost ones. Now He stands at the doors of our hearts knocking, seeking to come in to visit – to have relationship with us. (Revelation 3:20)
So, why do we need to seek? Perhaps, the exercise of “seeking” increases desire and increases the value of what is being sought in the eyes of the seeker.
This is just one of the paradoxes of our spiritual life / relationship with God – we need to seek even while being sought. But what does this look like?
Most often, our “seeking Him” is actually seeking an answer to a problem, or physical or emotional healing for ourselves or a loved one, or help in a bad circumstance such as a financial or relational crisis. We forget that it is supposed to be a relationship.
We have a desire to know God and His will for us but we don’t know how “it “ works – how to get answers to our prayers. So, we do desperate things – ask for signs, set fleeces out, etc. – and sometimes interpret the craziest things as answers, convincing ourselves that God did give us an answer (usually what we want) but it often results in disappointment, if not disparaging and damaging circumstances and relationships.
We know that God is not a vending machine but sometimes we treat Him that way. We’re so focused on getting what we want or think we need that we go to desperate lengths to get it. And then, if we don’t, we often go into depression and think that God is not listening – we can’t “find” him – and we draw the conclusion that He either doesn’t listen, or doesn’t answer and we fill our minds with all kinds of lies and weird thoughts about God and / or ourselves.
How many other relationships would last or be “successful” if we were only asking for things and never just “talking” or spending time with the other person? I know my wife wouldn’t like that very much, and neither would I. Neither of us would consider that much of a relationship and we’d want to do something about it, at least talk about it!
What I have described is not a functional and healthy relationship but, unfortunately, it describes many, if not most, Christians. So, if we are going to grow in our relationship with God, and accomplish what He has created us to be, we are going to have to learn to have a two-way relationship where both “people” speak and listen. But that may be a challenge for some of us because “hearing God” is not something we’re used to or even comfortable with.
So, what does or should “it” look like? Does God speak to you? Do you expect Him to? If He did what would that look / sound like? What methods does God use to “speak”? How do we recognize His voice compared to our own thoughts or the words of the devil? If God does speak to us what should we do about it?
I invite you to join me as we go on this journey together over the next few weeks to explore how it is that we “hear” God. Let’s explore and see how this game of hide & seek works.
Now let me close with these assuring words from Jesus:
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:18-21
Let us seek Him, not just for the answers to our needs, but for the sake of our relationship with Him, knowing that He is goodness and beauty, love and righteousness.
For the sake of the world and the glory of God,
Saturdays At Centro De Fe – 8:30am
We are moving to Centro De Fe to meet every Saturday, 1705 W Chestnut Avenue, 98902 from 8:30 – 10:00am.
Please call or text Dennis Crane, 509.910.7772, if you have any questions.
Please invite others to come that share their desire for Transformation in the Yakima Valley.