Monday, 26 September 2011
Found In Him: When Hide & Seek Is No Longer a Game
I love to play hide and seek.
Yes, even now as a grandmother, it’s my go to game with my grandchildren. After all, there are so many versions. Peek-a-boo with the toddler in the high chair. Teaching the preschooler where to find the best places are and how to stay hidden. Sardines for the savvy seven year old, where only one person hides and the rest crowd in to join him as they find him. Hide and Seek in the Dark with Flashlights to add drama for the sophisticated ten year old.
When I was eleven we moved to a neighborhood with lots of kids. That first summer we started the after dinner tradition of playing Kick the Can until it got dark. If you don’t know that version, you should try it sometime. You set up a can or pail in the central place. “It” counts while everyone hides. As he finds people, he puts them in jail, near the can. But if you can run from your hiding place and kick the can before he tags you, then everyone in jail goes free. It’s tag, hide and seek, and capture the flag all rolled into one.
I remember one time I found the best hiding place ever. I was wedged in between a neighbor’s air conditioning unit, a low wall, and a very prickly holly bush. It was hard enough to wiggle in there, so I wasn’t about to worm my way out and run for the can. They would just have to find me.
I remember how nervous I was when “It” got close to my den. He poked and peered and even looked right at me. I held my breath. Then he moved on. Yes! I hugged myself and gloated at my skill as a hider.
Then it began to get dark. “It” didn’t come back to look for me. In fact, no one was searching for me. I heard moms calling their kids home. I heard the voices of my friends fading into the night. I was hiding, but no one was seeking.
No longer a game
I remember how I felt that night, alone, forgotten. Gone was the pride of a good hiding place. It was no longer a game–I wanted to be found.
Ever since the Garden of Eden, we have all been hiding. From the moment Adam and Eve disobeyed the one “do not” God placed on them, they lost the glorious openness of their relationship with him. They fell from innocence into an experiential knowledge of sin. Instinctively, they hid, knowing that sin was shameful to them and alien to God. Bushes and fig leaves hid their bodies. Excuses and blaming hid their souls.
Would anyone come find them? Or would the world grow silent while they shivered in the dark?
God seeks us
The amazing news is that the game of hide and seek isn’t over. Everyone else may have gone home, but God himself still seeks us. He came down to the Garden that day and called, “Where are you? Have you eaten of the tree?” He sought Adam and Eve in the places where they hid their bodies and in the lies where they hid their souls.
Our Bibles record other times God came down to seek those who were hiding. Hagar ran from Sarah and hid in the desert. God found her there, fed her, and brought her back with a promise of his blessing (Genesis 16:6-14). He found Saul hiding among the baggage because he was afraid of God’s calling. God, through the prophet Samuel, brought him out of hiding and anointed him king. (1 Samuel 10:6, 10, 20-24). Jonah also hid, but God pursued him by storm and whale. (Jonah 1:1-17).
But there was one more time he came down–and stayed for a lifetime. In the incarnation, God clothed himself in true humanity and came down to save us. Jesus didn’t just send a message, a prophet, a storm, or a whale, he came down himself, to become like us.
To find us.
That’s the message of Found in Him, by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Read it and find yourself in him.