“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Ready or not, here I come!”
How many times have you said that in your lifetime? Playing hide and seek is currently my grandchildren’s favorite game. I guess it is taught early because even when they were less than a year old, they thought it funny for me to place a light blanket over their face and then quickly pull it away and say, “Peep-eye!” Their infant giggles conveyed their enjoyment that never tired. I could do the same thing for several minutes straight and that smile never stopped.
When they began getting around on their own, they would get under a blanket on the couch and wait. We would say, “I wonder where Hudson (or Hadley) is?” After saying that a couple of times, we would yank the blanket off and quickly commence to tickle them. Once we took our hands away, they would say, “Do it again.”
They have now graduated to actually going to hide somewhere out of sight. They always want either their Paw Paw, Aunt Martha or me to hide with them. Then one of the other adults and the other grandchild will begin to count. After saying the famous words, “Ready or not, here I come,” we start heading to their hiding place – which is always very obvious – and say, “where’s Hudson?” or, “where’s Hadley?” Many times, still being new to the game, they would call out, “Here I am.”
My grandson is now 3 and ½, and knows how to stay hidden until you find him. He still wants an adult to hide with him, I guess for the comfort of not being alone. My granddaughter, now 1 and ½, is helped with the counting, seeking and hiding. At first, she wouldn’t try to count. Now, she is learning to count, holding out her fingers as she names each number. From time to time when they are hiding, they still can’t be completely quiet. They are so excited hearing someone coming and can’t contain their giggles.
The adults playing the game always tire of it before the kids. It’s not so easy anymore for this 51 year old body to crawl under tables and beds or squat behind chairs.
I enjoy remembering those times of play when they are not around. But this morning as I was enjoying the recollections, I had a new thought.
In a way, God is playing hide and seek with the world. (This isn’t the most theological example, but stay with me.) When God created Adam and Eve, He spent time with them in the Garden. They knew His voice. Then they sinned. When God came to the Garden of Eden and called their name, they hid, because of their shame. When God found them and confronted them with their sin, they were sent out of His presence.
After that, God would appear once and awhile to men, and He called out to them by name. Sometimes when He called, men would say, “Here I Am.” At other times, God had to seek them out to get their attention. When men sought after God, He could and can always be found.
At some point in our life, God speaks to us, calling our name, and when we come to Him and accept Him as Lord and Savior, we can be close to Him at all times. When we try to hide ourselves, separate ourselves, from the world, God is beside us to comfort and encourage us. When we are led to do certain things by God, He is always there to take our hands, leading and guiding, until we get to the point at which He wants us to be.
When Christ came to earth, once again He was able to spend one-on-one time with His people. He taught us “the game.” He taught us how to live in a sinful world. Then as He ascended into heaven, He told us to go into the world to seek after those who are lost.
As Christians, we have God living within us. We are supposed to be seeking to follow His ways all the time. Sometimes, when we have unconfessed sin in our hearts, we feel that He is not near, that we can’t find Him. The problem is not that He can’t be found. The problem is that we are not looking for Him. When we get the sin out of the way, when we are ready, through confession, we find Him still there within us.
One day, and I hope it is soon because I’m getting tired, the final game will be played. Right now, Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. People are being allowed to “play” with the world. Some are in the game, seeking Christ. Some are off doing something else. The countdown is occurring even now. Whether we are waiting for Him or not, someday God the Father will tell His Son, “Go, get My Children.”
Christ will stand up, and I can almost hear Him saying, “Ready or not, here I come!”
Are you ready?