Hiding from God

Have you ever played hide and seek with a toddler? It really challenges your acting skills. Because they’re not all that good at hiding. Usually, when my 3 year old hides, some part of him is in plain sight, but since he can’t see me, he believes I can’t see him. So I purposely wander and wonder for a bit, asking “Wheeeere’s Marshall?” (which is usually answered by giggles that further betray his location).
I think our hiding from God is similar to a toddler’s in some ways.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” {Psalm 139:23-24}

David did the opposite of hiding from God in these verses. But he wasn’t always so humble and vulnerable. Other times, he did try to hide. Adam and Eve did too. And so do we. Obviously for us, it’s not as literal as running behind bushes like Adam and Eve did. For us, I think hiding from God is when we avoid confessing our sin and we carry it silently, trying to deal with it on our own or simply pretending it’s not there. In Psalm 32:2, David says he kept silent about his sin. Just as it’s silly that a toddler will “hide” in plain sight, it seems silly that we would try to hide from God because intellectually we know that’s not really possible. So why do we it?

When we hide, we are responding to a half-truth about God. He is just and we know our sin deserves punishment. But the other part is God is also merciful and invites us to continually come to Him for restoration when we have failed.

Hiding is also a response to a half-truth about ourselves. We see ourselves as dirty, unworthy people who are unfit for God’s presence. And it is true that is what we were… But now, we are washed and covered with royal clothes because of Christ. We are called to come to the throne of grace with confidence because of Christ. Because of Christ, mercy and grace are freely given and shame and fear are unnecessary: “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” {Hebrews 4:16}

But shame and fear are powerful emotions, and emotions often trump intellect. What we know takes a backseat to what we feel. Which is why shame and fear are such a useful tactic for the enemy. They drive a wedge between us and others, including God. When we avoid being truly seen, real connection is impossible. Any sense of connection we feel will be experienced as inauthentic, maybe even deceitful, which leads to more shame and fear. “What if they find out who I really am? If they only knew…” And we listen to the Accuser instead of to the Spirit, who says, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” (Act 3:19).

May we not hide from the Lord, but instead, come to Him. Like the father of the prodigal son, He is overwhelmed by love and runs to meet us with joy and forgiveness. May we, as David did, stop hiding from God and instead make God the One in whom we hide:

“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” {Psalm 32:7}
With love,

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