Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hide and Seek

Ever tried to play Hide and Seek with a three-year old?

Boy oh boy, these kids have NO idea what they’re doing.

Example A: My second-born daughter (D2). She’s currently three-years old and absolutely loves to play what she think is hide and seek in the backyard.

Here’s how that works:

D2: “Daddy, let’s play Hide and Seek, okay?”
Me: Okay, go hide, I’ll count.
D2: (while running away) “Onaway, I’m going to hide.”
Me: “One, two, three”… and so on, until “TENHEREICOME!”

By this time, D2 is laying face down in the grass, about 10 feet from me, giggling uncontrollably. “Are you hiding somewhere?” I ask. “Yes!” she screams, as she looks up at me. “I’m hiding.”

So I walk over, touch her on the back, and say “Gotcha.” And just like that, a spirited round of the pre-school version of “Hide and Seek” comes to an end.

Funny, huh? Funny how no actual “hiding” takes place in this version; and funny too that, when the “hider” doesn’t do much, the “seeker” doesn’t have to do much either.  But in the three-year old version, none of that seems to defeat the purpose of the game. And in the purest sense of the word, this is a childish approach to Hide and Seek.

But as I watched D2 giggling face down in the grass the other night, I realized that many of us, as adults, still play a childish game of Hide and Seek. Like a three-year old in the confines of their own backyard, we actually think there is some place we can go that the Seeker can’t see us. Or in fact we just believe that if we hide our own eyes, we are somehow “out of sight, out of mind.”

Even King David tried to play this childish game with the Lord. At a time when he should have covered his own eyes, he didn’t. Soon enough, Bathsheba was in his home and he was looking for ways to hide it from Uriah and apparently, from God. There he was, out in the open before the Lord, with his eyes and heart turned away, thinking he was succeeding at this very serious game of Hide and Seek. Yet The Lord’s eyes were on David the whole time.

Perhaps our sins are not like David’s but our feeble attempts to hide from the Lord’s presence certainly can be. Perhaps we think, if we don’t look for Him, then He won’t see us. Perhaps we think – like a child with its face down in the grass – we can occupy ourselves with other things and He won’t notice. We know He’s out there, because we’ve communicated with Him before, but somehow, now, we think its best to look the other way, expecting that He will do the same. But He doesn’t. So in other words, the game we think we’re playing with the Lord really isn’t Hide and Seek at all. It’s more just “convince ourselves we’re hidden and hope He doesn’t seek.”

David came to this realization and recorded it for us in Psalms. “Where can I go from Your Spirit,” he asks the Lord in Psalm 139:7. He could sleep in Hell, he could fly away, he could drop into the sea, he could hide in the darkness but none of that would matter to God, David admits, because he cannot flee from God’s presence. What makes us think we are any better at Hide and Seek?  

It may be a fun game with the three-year-old; it’s no way to live a life.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child,” wrote Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:11. “When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

Hide and Seek belongs in the backyard. Not in your heart.

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