Luke 19 : 10
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
In the 1960’s, most of the neighborhood moms were home. And that meant that most of the neighborhood kids were home.
And that meant daily games of hide-and-seek, especially towards the dusky part of the evening.
Finding a place to hide was always a trick. You wanted to be hidden, but you wanted to have a clear line of sight; you wanted to be close enough to home that you only had to run a short distance to touch it, but you wanted to be far enough away that you weren’t found in the first few minutes. A tricky business indeed.
So many children’s games have implications for life, don’t they? Especially our spiritual lives.
And hide and seek is no exception.
I remember hiding, and I remember all the conflicting feelings of being hidden….
I wanted to pick a really good hiding place. Although I enjoyed hiding, I certainly didn’t want to be hidden forever.
The truth was that I wanted to be found at some point, to be brought into the light.
Sometimes I would pick such a tricky and secure hiding place that the game seemed to last forever, and I would become worried.
What if they never found me? What if they forgot about me? As the game would drag on, and I could hear the others being found, I would start to feel the isolation and the emptiness of being lost forever; and I would feel the hauntingly cold fear of that kind of aloneness-forgotten, left outside of life and light. It was terrifying.
There is something sobering about playing hide and seek in the outdoors…the vastness of the space, the variety of hiding places…the elements that play with your mind…the breeze, the light, the shadows...the sounds.
Sometimes while hiding, I would giggle uncontrollably as the seeker came near; other times, I’d hold my breath as my heart pounded in my chest…and then, I’m found!…I haven’t fooled anyone!
Other times, the seeker would end the game by calling “All-y, All-y, in free!!!” And I would RUN, RUN, RUN home….out of breath, heart beating wildly, but HOME!
The freedom of being home was such sweet relief!
So why did I sometimes choose hiding instead? I thought of all my spiritual hiding places…
As a little child, hiding in my fear of an all-powerful God.
(The very idea scared me!)
As a teen, hiding in rebelliousness and self-destruction.
(I can do what I want!)
As a young mom, hiding in my willful ignorance, not knowing myself or my God.
(These church services are long and boring, and it was such a pain getting all the kids ready to go this morning.)
As a middle-ager, running in circles, and hiding in my arrogance and pride.
(I’m trying to do this career and raise this family, give me a break…I don’t have the time or energy to bother with anything extra!)
And then, as a new believer at age 38, I was found…Praise God, the Seeker of our souls…
But even then, as a mature lady, who should know better, I find sometimes that I hide in my weakness.
(I’m tired. I don’t have anything to offer. Besides, I’m an introvert!)
But in the distance, I hear my God call “All-y, All-y in free!!!”
And I RUN!
I had a dream about heaven once.
It was a city on a hill, beautiful, warm, vibrant.
But just outside the unlatched gate of the city was darkness and brokenness and forlornness and gloom.
A barren land.
And there were people out there. And they were…
Crouching in the darkness.
And when they heard the Call “All-y, All-y in free!!!”
They crouched deeper.
They ducked into the shadows.
They didn’t breathe…
But we, in the city, saw them.
We knew they were there.
So we left the light on.
And the gate unlatched.
But they weren’t ready to come in.
And I remembered all those times when I hid.
My heart pounding; barely able to breathe; blind to the truth….
I came in when I was ready.
I was tired of hiding.
And God speaks to us of hiddenness…
Mark 4 : 22
For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.
Because He came to seek and to save, and He doesn’t want anyone to be lost.
Even now, in the duskiness of the day, the Seeker calls.
“All-y, All-y in free!!!”
Are you ready to come in from your hiding place?
The light is on and the gate is unlatched.
Join me in the Round!
*Scripture quotations are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.