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Posts Tagged ‘hiding from God’

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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Life is full of new experiences—and this past week has brought its fair share of these. Our daughter has currently bequeathed her two cats to us to mind while she is overseas. And I must say I have learnt so much already as I have observed them trying to come to terms with their new environment, not to mention the two weird people minding them who aren’t used to cats!

P1030941

Miss Lexxi

It is obvious from the beginning that Lexxi is a little more adventurous than her sister. After the initial shock has worn off, she is prepared to emerge from hiding and explore. Soon she becomes daring enough to nuzzle our legs. Then she graduates to prowling around my desk, settling on my lap and nudging my hand when I stop stroking her in order to type. Coaxing her over to the nearby bed instead works occasionally—but only when she deigns it to be so.

Miss Lexxi again

Miss Lexxi again

Eventually, she finds an empty book box of mine and—voila! She is in heaven for a while! But then that paper bin under my desk looks very interesting too …

Meanwhile, on arrival, poor Tesla (yes, that’s her name!) bolts for a spot in the far corner underneath our sideboard—and stays there, refusing to budge. When we look for her there on the second day, however, she is nowhere to be seen.

Now picture this, if you can—two mature adults with worried looks, hunting high and low in every nook and cranny of the house for said cat, moving beds, fridges, freezers, clothes driers, crawling on  hands and knees under desks, peeking in boxes, behind curtains, in cupboards that have always been closed anyway. You name it, we did it!

For many hours, we keep up the hunt. And then we find her—curled up on a tiny ledge way at the back of an old desk in my husband’s study where we thought no cat would ever fit. We let her be, taking her food and water to her. And eventually, she braves it enough to gravitate during the night to a spot behind the settee in the lounge, where she remains silent and still—at least while we are around.

What have I learnt so far from this experience? Apart from some practical tips on caring for cats, it has inspired me to reflect on how often we try to hide from God. At times, we find ourselves reverting to that behaviour exhibited by that first man and woman in the Garden of Eden when they heard the Lord looking for them and hid in fear. Yet God knows where we are all the time—just like right now, I know where timid Tesla is hiding because those curtains pulled to one side in the lounge are a dead giveaway! And God longs for us to experience so much more of that warm, loving relationship on offer for anyone willing to emerge from that hiding place, trust the Owner of the house and explore the freedom the Kingdom has to offer.

So where are you? Are you hiding too? Is there more of God’s amazing love and grace out there for you to explore?

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. Jer 31:3

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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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