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Posts Tagged ‘hide and seek’

Jo 17I smiled as I watched a hide-and-seek game unfold before us in the park where our grandchildren were playing. A young woman had pressed herself flat behind a large tree, while a boy searched everywhere for her. At last he made his way towards the tree—but as he circled it, so did the woman. Eventually, the boy hurried to search elsewhere, looking slightly panicked. I felt so sorry for him, but thankfully, the young woman must have too, because she soon went after him and all was well. Phew!

This event must have inspired our grandchildren because, back home, they decided they too would hide from each other. Zain hid first, while Maxine quickly began counting to fifty.

‘I don’t know if Zain’s had time to hide yet,’ I warned her.

‘Yes, I have! You can look upstairs and downstairs!’ a voice boomed out from nearby. Little did Zain realise he had given the game away! In no time, Maxine darted in the direction his voice had come from—and there he was, curled up under the lounge.

When Maxine’s turn came, however, she fared no better. As Zain counted, she tore upstairs to find a good spot. But in her hurry to hide, she omitted to shut the door of the linen cupboard where she had squeezed into a corner—a dead giveaway, to say the least!

For me, age and size often determine how many good hiding spots I can find when trying to trick our grandkids! Yet when it comes to hiding from God, I am much more expert. I know and believe God is all-seeing—so why do I bother hiding at all? And I also know God is eternally loving and gracious and forgiving—so again, why bother hiding? But sometimes I listen to that insistent little voice inside my head that seems to hiss at me, ‘Go ahead and think mean thoughts about that person! Don’t forgive him—he doesn’t deserve it! Don’t offer to help her out—why should you? And why bother praying for those other people, even though you promised to? God won’t notice—you can keep it a secret.’ On and on it goes, until I give in and do the things I truly don’t want to do. Then, rather than coming to God and talking about it all, I try to hide.

It’s a bit like Adam and Eve in the garden, isn’t it?

Then the man and his wife … hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Genesis 3:8-10

What if, instead of feeling ashamed and trying to hide, you and I came willingly before God, knowing that, as God’s beloved children, we will be fully accepted and understood and forgiven? What if, instead of holding onto our guilt or anger, we let it all go and truly trusted God? What if, instead of listening to the tempter’s voice, we were to listen to God’s Spirit who is always there to help and to guide?

Let’s not try to hide from God any longer. Instead, let’s allow ourselves to be found and known and loved—perfectly and completely.

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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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