June 30, 1992
. . . Ninety-eight . . . 99 . . . 100 . . . coming, ready or not!
The perennial favorite, hide and seek, needs no instruction from generation to generation. It is just one of those things that people do. Babies love to peek-a-boo, children enjoy taking turns hiding and hunting on rainy days in the house or sunny days out in the yard. My husband and I even play hide and seek with a comical ball. It is fun... as long as the seeker can find the hidden person or thing. If the game goes too long without discovery, most players get bored.
I never connected hide and seek with a certain age old story until this week. I was re-reading Genesis chapter three. It is the account of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden, suddenly realizing they were naked and then sewing fig leaves together to cover themselves. When they heard the sound of God walking in the garden. they promptly went into the bushes and hid.
These first people were playing the first game of hide and seek. One thing is sure — for them it was not fun and games and they most definitely did not want God to discover them. They had done the one and only thing He told them they could not do and, whatever that means to us, it meant agonizing shame and deep guilt to them. They knew they could not face God.
It is difficult for us to imagine what it would be like to know God and talk with Him face to face without any hindrance. Adam and Eve had enjoyed a good relationship with Him before this happened. Their intimacy had not been marred with sin and held a wonderful closeness that only innocence can know. Because of that, I suspect their sense of disgrace was much deeper than is our sense of shame and loss when we sin.
Anyway, God went looking for them and even though they tried to hide, His eyes missed nothing. He knew what they had done, knew why they were hiding, and knew what they would say when He found them. The count was over, Adam and Eve were caught.
As I read the story, I realized God wasn’t really “IT,” for He did not need to hide His eyes, count to 100, then overturn rocks or sweep away tree branches to find them. Actually, Adam and Eve were “IT.” Because of their disobedience, they had “lost God.” They knew they could no longer enjoy their intimacy with Him (or with each other) and that loss sent them into hiding. In fact, if God had not come searching for them, they might have stayed hidden in the bushes until they died. That is what sin does to people.
For us, the setting is different, as is the number of commands. But the story is the same. We have disobeyed too — not one injunction but a whole raft of them. Because of it, we are estranged from our Maker. The symptoms are much the same too; when we hear what we suspect is the sound of God, we tend to run and hide, not wanting Him or anyone else to see how sinful we really are.
God does promise, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” We need to come out of our hiding places. Then we will find that it is really God who is seeking us so He can reverse the awful consequences of sin and graciously give us eternal life.