I love how the Lord plays hide & seek with us. He hides secrets in the most obscure places, like a parent who hides Easter eggs for their kids to find.
We were in
And Easter morning, after church, we hid eggs all over the house for the kids. Because they’re not real big, we hid them in fairly obvious places: on the bookshelf, in the middle of the bed, on top of the potted plants. And because they’re not real big, they had a spectacular time finding all the eggs we’d “hidden”. And if they missed one, we’d give them hints, “You’re getting warmer.” If they went too far, “You’re getting colder.”
Then my teenage kids wanted to find Easter eggs, so we hid them again, but this time it was far more obscure. Underneath the congas. Inside the drawers. Under the leaves of the houseplants. We hid them in places that would make them look, that would make them take time to find all the eggs.
And we have video of all this. It was hilarious!
But then the kids wanted to hide eggs for us adults. They were vicious! They taped them up inside the drums, stuck them inside a crack in the walls, kept some hidden in their own pockets. It took us hours! And of course, they took video of it all, and laughed uproariously at us!
It was a hilarious afternoon. We had an amazing time with our German friends, and with our kids and their kids. We were delighted at how hard the kids pushed themselves. (I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t appear to me that children are always willing to push themselves in difficult circumstances. But add a bribe like candy, and watch them go to work!) It was even fun when the children turned the table and made us parents work hard to find the goodies!
God does that with us. He hides Easter eggs for us. He hides things that He expects us to find, that He wants us to find, but we have to go looking for them and, can we be honest, sometimes we have to look really hard for them. Omniscient beings have an advantage when it comes to hiding things.
· In his Word. Have you ever been reading or listening to the Word and suddenly, a verse or a concept grabs your attention? It’s like it says, “There’s something here,” but you don’t know what It is that’s hidden here, yet.
· In signs and wonders. The Bible itself declares that signs, wonders & miracles are given as testimony to a message from him. What is the message hidden in today’s miracle?
· In testimonies. A testimony about what God has done is, according to the angel in Revelation, “the spirit of prophecy.” In other words, it’s communicating a message to our soul, but remember, English is not God’s first language. An encounter with God is often a powerful experience, and occasionally a clear message, but it is not infrequent that he conceals even more significant content underneath the first message. Elisha’s instructions to king Joash were clear, but there was considerable meaning that was not quickly accessible.
· In impressions and imaginations. I’ve learned to recognize that if I get stuck on a song or a verse stuck in my head, it’s worth looking for Easter eggs there.
· In the confusing language of dreams. Not all dreams are from God, of course, but those that are seldom have their message clearly visible to a casual observation; they require searching for interpretation, and often searching deeply.
· In the “coincidences” of everyday life. These can be your own language with God. I have one friend who, when he wakes up in the night, always looks at the digital clock; if it’s a certain pattern, he considers it an invitation from God, and thus far, he has not been disappointed by that pattern. Another friend finds Bible verses in the display of the digital clock.
A very wise man observed this pattern in God’s ways. About three thousand years ago, he wrote,
I observe a couple of things in Solomon’s statement:
First, this business of “hide and seek” is a matter of glory. I still hold that God has always intended us for glory, that part of the fall was a fall from glory, and part of right relationship with God involves experiencing his glory, and discovering the glory that he meant for us. It brings God glory to hide “Easter Eggs” for us; it is a manifestation of his glory in us when we chase them down and find them.
It’s not insignificant that he’s speaking of kings. Not everybody who searches things out will be discover glory. It is only for kings that searching a matter out brings glory. The Bible speaks of us as kings and priests, of course. Kings are leaders, overcomers, men and women who set the standard, who decree what will happen in their territory and guard it against incursion or lack; it is these who will find glory by searching out the things that God has hidden. Those not part of the
Okay, let’s get this next point right out in the open in front of God and everybody: God conceals things from us. More specifically, God hides from us some of the things that are good for us, possibly even some of the things that we need to live as we are called to live on this earth. I point this out because I want to kill the sacred cow that envisions God as some sort of Heavenly Concierge, who has all the answers, and can point us directly to anything we want, and all we have to do is tip him a few bucks.
Inherent in this is the need for us to search things out, to work hard to find the very things that he wants us to find and to have. A casual question and a five dollar bill will not provide us with the answers we seek, with the answers we must have. We must search and we must search hard. (Clue: we must search in him!)
As I’ve been meditating on this whole topic, I find some things stand out to me by way of application.
· I need to manage my expectations of God carefully. I’ve been raised to think of prayer not significantly differently than I think of requests to Santa Claus: I can ask, but after that, there’s nothing I can do to influence the answer to my request, so hold the requests lightly. Not so.
· I need to manage how I see myself. It’s easy to see myself as a powerless person, as a victim of circumstances, as an effect rather than a cause. If I see myself that way, if I respond to my life that way, then I disqualify myself for the hidden, for the deeper things of God. Among other things.
· I need to manage my attention carefully. In our hustle-and-bustle society, it’s easy to miss the still, small whisper that says, “You’re getting warmer.” It’s more difficult to catch that whisper when we weren’t looking to find something (that appears to be his favorite time for an Easter egg hunt!).
· I need to manage my focus. I’ve grown used to instant results, instant answers. This is not that. The process of searching out the things God has hidden is just that: a process. Processes take time. The process of searching also takes persistence, diligence, focus.