There were few things I used to dread more as a child than when the streetlights came on at night. It wasn’t that I didn’t want my cul-de-sac to be illuminated in the dark, it was just that the streetlights coming on meant that my siblings and I had to come back into the house from a day filled with playing games with the neighborhood kids. “Come home when the streetlights turn on” was the law of virtually every parent in the neighborhood.
There were, however, those rare nights when all of the parents agreed to let us stay out past dark. I remember one of our favorite games to play as a neighborhood when we got to stay out at night was Hide and Seek in the Dark. Plain old Hide and Seek during the daytime was for little kids; but the element of the darkness made the game that much more intense.
I really liked playing Hide and Seek as a kid, but I hated being “It”. It was so lonely! You close your eyes, count to ten, and suddenly all your friends are gone. You can imagine, this was especially terrifying in the dark. I was never quite as motivated to win a game as I was in those first few minutes of Hide and Seek…
We may think that we grow up and leave such childish games behind us, but I think it is sort of natural for us to approach life like we are “It” in a game Hide and Seek. Something is hiding; and we may not be too sure exactly what it is, but we know we need to find it so that we don’t feel so alone anymore. We want to find whatever it is that’s hiding so that our life can have meaning.
As a result, we search high and low in every place imaginable. We find things along the way that we think might be the object of our search—things like a job, a hobby, or even a relationship— but then we still feel compelled to search for more. Nothing completely satisfies this need we have to keep searching. We feel that something else still has yet to be found…
I think that this “something else” is God.
The punch line is that God isn’t interested in playing Hide and Seek with us. When you love someone, you don’t hide from them and make them come find you. If you love someone, you do everything in your power to let that person (and everyone else) know of your love for them. This is how God feels about us. He loves us too much to try and force us to love him, but he would never hide from us.
If you say you can’t find God, maybe stop looking so hard. He’s not on some far off mountaintop or only in a big Cathedral in Europe. He is right there with you. Rest in his presence. Talk to him. He is simply waiting—never hiding.