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Posts Tagged ‘hide and seek’

Jo 12One day last week, our grandson told his dad he would like to pay Nanna a visit. At first, our lively five-year-old was content to play hide-and-seek in our new unit. Then I suggested a simple card game, but he wasn’t interested. And why would he be? After all, he recently mastered the much trickier game of Uno and now has marathon tournaments with his parents! Eventually, I found an old ‘Dora the Explorer’ version of the game ‘Trouble’ and suggested he learn how to play that.

Once our game started, I discovered our son-in-law remembered playing a similar game during his boyhood days in Ghana. Just as I had grown up playing Ludo with my sister, so Kofi had played that same old game as a child too—except he remembered those rules much better than I did.

‘We used plastic counters and dice,’ he told me. ‘If you landed on your own counter, you could put one on top of the other. Then no one could go past you!’

I recalled those double counters, although not how they stopped others from passing. But obviously, this had been a big deal for Kofi as a child because, even as he mentioned it, his eyes gleamed with glee! No wonder his son is now more than a little competitive!

We explained the rules to Zain as we went along, but I soon noticed Kofi and I were doing things a little differently. Several times, I could have landed on one of our grandson’s pieces and sent it back home, but … well, I admit I pretended I didn’t see. I didn’t have the heart to squash his enjoyment of it all—or his hopes of winning. But his dad was having nothing of that. No way! On several occasions, he sent one of Zain’s precious pieces back home with great glee! And, to my surprise, Zain simply accepted this as part of the rules of the game. So much for Nanna’s misplaced kindness!

Yes, rules have their place, don’t they? We would not enjoy those games at all, if we could each do what we liked. And, while life can hardly be called a game, we would soon be in trouble if there were no rules to govern our society. But I’m so glad that, when it comes to the things of God, it’s not all about adhering to laws or rules. Yes, we are called to live in a way that honours God and displays respect and fairness towards others. But living life with God involves so much more than playing—or living—by the rules. It’s about true relationship. It’s about receiving God’s amazing grace, that undeserved favour and kindness that is never misplaced, as my ‘grace’ to Zain was. And it’s about loving the Lord with our whole hearts in return and our neighbour as ourselves, as Jesus tells us:

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39

Those rules set a high standard, don’t you think? Yet I’m so happy to take them on board. And I hope and pray our Zain will be too one day.

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P1030759I think I might have told you once or twice before about our cute little grandson Zain. Well, okay … maybe a few times more! One thing he loves to do at the moment is to find an interesting little space behind or under some item of furniture and quickly ‘hide’ there. It could be in between our piano and the piano stool in our lounge, for example, or perhaps under the desk in his granddad’s study. Either place, he is hardly invisible—he just thinks he is. If he can’t see me, he has obviously decided, then chances are we can’t see him! But I join in with his little game anyway.

‘Where could Zain be?’ I wonder out loud as he stays very still and quiet where he is.

‘I can see you!’ I say after a while in a teasing voice. The next moment, he appears, his little head to one side, eyes gleaming with mischief and a cheeky grin on his face.

There you are!’ I exclaim, to his delight. ‘You’re such a tricky boy!’

You know, sometimes I wonder if God isn’t tempted to laugh out loud at times at our bumbling efforts to deceive ourselves and hide from him as Zain does with us. It’s exactly what Adam and Eve tried to do back in the very beginning after they had disobeyed God and eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The almighty Creator of the whole world surely knew where they were hiding and what had happened. Yet God calls out to them ‘Where are you?’, as if willing them to come and be up front about it all, but they choose to hide in fear (Gen 3).

Later, in Genesis 16:13, we read how the Lord finds Hagar after she has run away from her mistress Sarai. Hagar proceeds to give the Lord a simple, unique title—‘You are the God who sees me’.  And in Psalm 139:11-12, as King David realises there is no place where he can flee from God’s presence, he exclaims almost with an air of relief:

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

By the power given to him by his Father in heaven, Jesus understood what was in men’s and women’s hearts without having to be told. ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you’, he says to Nathanael, Philip’s brother (Jn 1:48). He was well aware of the type of life the Samaritan woman at the well had led without her having to enlighten him (Jn 4). And in the same way today, God sees into our hearts, bringing to light the things we still try to hide at times.

I’m so thankful God doesn’t laugh at me and the foolish games I play. I’m so glad that instead, God treats me with such love and forbearance, forgiving me and patiently setting me feet on the right path, ready to do better next time.

I’m known. I’m seen. I can’t hide from God. And that brings me deep joy and true freedom.

How about you?

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