Every kid knows the game. Get psyched. Run. Survey your options. Run through the pros and cons of each location. You find the best one. You settle with whatever belongings you may have. You sit. You quiet your breathing. You wait. You listen…3..2..1..ready or not, here I come!
Growing up your games of hide and seek may not have been as intense as I have described. That’s okay. But most understand the concept. Hide away from the seeker and hope to be the last one found. I have seen some pretty impressive hiding spots, from hiding in ceilings to jumping into a trash bag. It’s an adventure.
Too often, though, we find ourselves playing hide and seek with God.
Everything God created he saw as good, including Adam and Eve. They were given dominion over the earth. The only catch? They could not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.With some encouragement from a sneaky serpent, the couple ate despite God specifically telling them not to. Enter sin. This disobedient act would bring divide between God and his creation. It brought pain, sweat, and death.
After the couple ate, they realized they were naked. They had been walking around the garden all this time and had no idea they were not physically covered. They hid. They feared God because of their disobedience. They clothed themselves and hid in the Garden of Eden.“They hid from God? An all-knowing God?” I know, it sounds crazy. But God humored mankind. He asked “Adam, where you at?” God knew where Adam was, and God knew Adam and his wife ate of the forbidden tree. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and the perfection God intended and created was ruined. They saw they were naked. They were vulnerable. They feared, so they hid.
Another instance you may recall is a man by the name of Jonah: he is famous for being one of few to be swallowed whole by a giant fish and live.
“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.”
Jonah was was told by God to go to Nineveh and speak against the lifestyles being lived in the city and to proclaim the name of God. This city was evil. Wicked. The original ‘Sin City.’ Jonah refused to go. He ran. Straight into a boat and sailed into the sea away from the Lord. He’d never be found there, right?
Wrong. God sent winds and storms toward the boat. The crew of unbelievers feared. They prayed to their own gods, to no avail. They threw cargo off the boat to lighten the load. They eventually came to the realization that Jonah’s disobedience was the source. After confusion and debate, Jonah was thrown overboard. He was swallowed by a fish and stayed in its stomach for three days and nights.
These three individuals ran from God. They disobeyed. They became afraid. Their sinfulness caused them to hide from the Almighty.
We may often find ourselves in situations of fear and hiding from God. We find ourselves in seasons of guilt and shame, brokenness, and pain. We are covered in sin. I can’t let God see me like this. I can’t bring myself before Him with so much imperfection and hurt. Can I?
My brother and sister, you can! Jesus tells us to come to Him and He will give us rest (Matthew 11:28). Come with all of our baggage, ugliness, pain, burdens, weights, addictions, whatever it is and He will give us relief. God is the God of grace and mercy. He forgives. He asks us to come to Him, not perfect, but just as we are.
While Adam, Eve, and Jonah ran and hid, they were found. God came to them. God saw the disobedience in their hearts and still worked in and through them. Adam and Eve filled the earth. Jonah was eventually vomited (Jonah 2:10) on to dry land. He traveled to Nineveh proclaiming what God commanded.The people listened, turned from their ways, and God spared the inhabitants’ lives and city. Even after their disobedience, fear, and running from the Lord, God loved them and used them.
Don’t run. Stop hiding. Seek God openly for forgiveness. Seek Him for the rest and peace we so desperately need. My brother, you are not asked to bring perfection. My sister, you are not asked to live perfectly. Sin does not allow us to do so. We are asked the grace and forgiveness of the Creator who forgives. We’re asked to come dirty, naked, and broken. You can be healed by the very one who formed you.
God loves you. Embrace sincerity and vulnerability. Let God cover you. Come with open hearts to His open arms. Let God take you from the place you can’t escape from.
Come out of hiding.
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See 2016 through the eyes of Alex.
Cover photo: Me *Passion 2017, Downtown ATL