I got the chance to play hide and seek a few nights ago. Three boys under the age of six and three adults–good odds, really. We took turns counting to 25 and hiding in new places (while also re-hiding in previous spots).
I noticed three things:
- There’s great anticipation in ‘being found’
- Not all hiding places are effective
- When found, I get to choose how I respond
There is anticipation in ‘being found’…
When I heard “23… 24… 25… ready or not here I come,” I sucked in my breath. Knowing someone is looking for you creates anticipation and longing. It awakens your senses to be more alive, listening to what is around you and noticing the space you occupy. How often do I “hide” from God wanting to know that someone is looking for me?
I do this with God sometimes. I mean, God and I have been in relationship for a long time and often I need to be reminded of what it feels like to be found, again and again and again. So I “hide” behind a feeling of justification for an action I know has hurt another, maybe just for a bit, and I know full well that God and I are going to need to address, once again, how to walk in forgiveness. If one has known real freedom, one rarely chooses to stay hidden for long.
Not all hiding places are effective…
The best thing about hiding with a four year old is when their small hand is pulling you to hide in a place where your sheer size difference will expose you, not them. Their sweet minds deem it fit for two when, as an adult, I know I have long outgrown THIS perfect place. Like an ostrich with their head stuck in the sand, I join with them, pretending by closing my eyes, covering my face, thinking myself hidden only to be the first to be found – exposed.
Oh yes, I do this with God as well – ask a question and then avoid hearing the answer because I really want another one. I pray, “Please forgive me my sins” when what I really mean is – bummer I got caught. And maybe this place in our relationship is about letting me remember that I can hide, but really I know I need to be found.
When I’m found, I choose how to response…
We played for close to thirty minutes and then last round was called. I was hiding behind pillows of a coach. As I lay there, my one-eyed view of the ceiling, I listened to the sounds of the searching – no one was finding me. Then I heard, “Becky, can you give us a hint?” I raised my fingers up above the pillows and suddenly found a small face peering over at me saying, “I found you!”
Yes you did.
Too often it is not my response to even want to give God a hint – though I know “hiding” is really ineffective when talking about the Creator. But yet, there comes a time when God must make a final call to our hiding. Think of Jonah going from the bottom of a boat to the belly of a fish. God did’t make him come out of hiding, the wind and waves were part of the ways to call him out of his hiding place. After everyone else endured a storm that was meant to call him out, God essentially says, “Want to give me a hint about how to get you out of this boat?” And Jonah’s response is kind of like waving his hand – here I am, I will jump in the water. God graciously swoops in with a fish to scoop him up, “I found you!”
When was the last time you let yourself anticipate being found by God? By another? What if there is an invitation to us all in hide and seek?
At bedtime, one little guy looked up at me and said, “Thank you for playing with me.”
I got to look him in the eyes and say, “Thank you for finding me.”