What is it about playing Hide-and-Seek that kids love so much? Even before kids can walk they love to play Peek-a-Boo with a blanket or with their hands over their eyes. They seem to marvel at the thought that once they cover their eyes no one is able to see them. Their delight is infectious when they think we are surprised by their unveiling.
I remember playing a lot of Hide-and-Seek when our kids were little. My favorite trick was fooling them into disclosing their location. After letting them hide somewhere not too far away, I would loudly say, “OK. One… Two… Hmmm, what comes after two?” Then I would hear an excited but muffled voice call out, “Free!”
Our grown up games of hide and seek are much more sophisticated. We don’t have to physically hide ourselves. We have each learned the art of hiding our feelings. I’m pretty good at hiding my disappointments and heartaches, but since Elijah died I have lost the ability to easily hide my sorrow. Being tough on the outside is a lot easier than being tough on the inside. Most of you reading this would remind me that it’s a good thing to ‘Let it Go!‘
So I wonder why we try to hide ourselves in the first place. And from whom are we hiding? It’s foolish to pretend to hide things from ourselves, but we are all pretty good at hiding things from other people. Yet when it comes to hiding from God we are more like the baby trying to play Peek-a-Boo.
“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” (Jeremiah 23:24). There is nowhere to hide.
But playing Hide-and-Seek is not really about hiding. It’s about the thrill of being discovered. For whatever reasons, we forget that fact as we get older. We hide what could be embarrassing. We don’t like to be diminished in the eyes of others. Our pain and our shame and our disappointments drive us to those dark places where we imagine that no one can find us. But secretly we hate our hiding places. No one plays Hide-and-Seek hoping to never be found.
Elijah spent most of the last three years of his life hiding out in our home . Physically and emotionally he secluded himself. After his serious concussions he became gripped by fear, shame and bitterness. It was only in that third year, and just a few months before he died, that he finally gave all of that over to God.
He allowed God to rescue him from hiding, and we often said that we had our old Elijah back. Even more so, we had an Elijah that was so thrilled to be free from hiding that he caught fire for the Lord. A few weeks before he died, he wrote about how important it is to come out of hiding.
“Until you become capable of giving God all you have he will continue to test you and challenge you…” (Elijah 2014).
Indeed. God knows anyway where we are hiding. We might as well come out and laugh with him over our silliness.Otherwise He’ll continue to test us and challenge us until we give up our hiding place!
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