Friday, August 14, 2009

Hide and Go Seek

The Game

The one childhood game I think we never outgrow is Hide and Go Seek. Players run and hide while the seeker is hiding his/her eyes . . . theoretically. After an acceptable time is allowed for hiding, the seeker shouts; “Ready of not, here I come.”

When we are little and first introduced to the game, we don’t hide well. I remember my sister hiding behind the pole of a clothes line in our back yard. She was skinny, but not that skinny. As we get older we discover and select better hiding places.

My favorite indoor place was the dirty clothes hamper with a few towels thrown on top of my head in case the seeker thought of looking there. Outdoors was on top of the garage door when it was in the “open” position. This was back in the day of solid, heavy wooden garage doors.

As I look back on those days and good times, it occurs to me that we never get over that game. How we play it has changed and it’s not that much fun anymore. Still, we continue to play. We don’t hide behind poles or on top of garage doors or in clothes hampers anymore.

Grown Up Version
Now we hide behind carefully constructed images we show to others. We hide behind success, portfolios, busy-ness and activity, social involvement, a cause to which we have attached ourselves and even church activity. Some of us even hide behind God. And what we are hiding is the darkness, the bankruptcy, the emptiness in our souls.

Then the seeker shouts, “Ready or not, here I come.” And the seeker does come. And the seeker’s name is Grace. Grace finds us out by pulling down our carefully constructed images. Grace flushes us out of the shadows by creating unbearable discontent with success, portfolios, busy-ness, activity, social involvement, causes and religious activity.

Sometimes, grace even shakes our faith in God. Why? Maybe so that we will stop using belief in God as a reason to feel good about ourselves when everything about us is so broken and unredeemed. Shaking our faith allows us to see that without the ability to profess a sure belief in God, we find there is nothing to us but a self-absorbed, fearful, insecure, sinful and broken human who has been hiding from grace rather than surrendering to it.

A Way to Win
Occasionally, something will happen in my life that makes me question some deeply held belief, either about God and faith, or about the extent of my own transformation as a follower of Jesus. Sometimes, one of my hiding places gets exposed. That exposure is usually some combination of painful and embarrassing.

But it doesn’t frustrate me anymore. I now receive “getting caught” as a gift because it always, always compels me to come out from my hiding, and draw closer to the heart of the God who gave himself for me. So maybe the game can be fun again after all. I just need to remember that the ones who get caught are the ones who win.

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