Dr. James Fowler
Almost everyone has played the childhood game of “hide and seek.” One person hides their eyes, while everyone else runs to find a hiding place, and the seeker attempts to find the others in their hiding places until everyone is found. A reverse variation on the game is called “sardines;” everyone in the group hides their eyes while one person runs to find a hiding place. The entire group seeks the one who is hiding; and when found each seeker quietly joins the hidden one in the hiding place until they are packed into the hiding place like “sardines.” The difficult part of this variation is to remain quiet without giggling.
Have you ever thought of playing “hide and seek” with God?
Since God is all-knowing, He has an advantage when we seek to hide. Adam and Eve played such a game in the Garden of Eden, attempting to hide from God after they had sinned. They were soon found. But, to reverse the roles, does God ever hide from us? Yes, He does! Not desiring to look at our sin, He graciously “hides His face” (Deut. 31:18; Ps. 30:7; Isa. 54:8; 59:2). Beyond that, He purposefully hides and remains a mystery to our finite understanding, in order that we might seek Him. God sometimes hides from our awareness to reveal Himself to our needs.
The hidden God was historically revealed in His Son, Jesus. “No one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27). Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn. 6:46; 14:7,9). Experientially, however, His presence and activity ever remain an infinite, hidden mystery. He hides Himself from our full awareness; and at the right time, He surprises us with the revelation of His grace and character. God hides Himself in the marginalized people of our society where we least expect to find Him. Jesus said, “As you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto Me” (Matt. 25:40,45).