Peek-a-boo! It’s the first game that makes most babies smile. And, once they catch on, be prepared to play along. A lot!
Next comes Hide and Seek. I love to watch toddlers think they are hidden if they can’t see the seeker. I mean, no, of course I cannot find you when I see that little foot sticking out from behind the chair. Their childish naïveté is charming.
We played Hide and Seek with our children even into their teen years. The bigger they got, the smarter they got about hiding, but the fewer spots they found which could completely conceal them. Eventually, our little girl couldn’t hide behind the drapes anymore without her toes sticking out. (I did actually find one hiding place that was never discovered, though. I considered making it my nap spot! 😊)
As I walked around my car to go to work last week, I spied two little leaves. They reminded me of those earliest bygone days when my babies’ sweet giggles gave away their hiding places. We’d had a light snow the night before which left most surfaces covered in white. I knew buried under the snowy blanket were scads of leaves and twigs. But an area just outside the garage had escaped the flurries.
All except for two leaves. They lay in the bare spot, each covered singularly by the frozen precipitation. In my bizarre imagination, I believe they thought they were as hidden as those beneath the yard covering. But even a casual observer could tell without a doubt: those were leaves.
I began thinking about how I attempt to hide from an all-knowing God. Oh, I know, He sees me at all times, and I can never escape His loving gaze. I realize He knows every one of my thoughts. But, in my naïveté, I still try to hide. I do so most often in my prayers.
For example, if I am having a difficult time getting along with someone, I tend to frame my plea for patience in the nicest terms possible, as if He cannot see the ugly anger in my heart.
When I am starting to feel bitter about a trial I am experiencing, I often approach the Lord by first assuring Him I understand “all things work together for good to them that love God,”and He “knows the plan He has for my life.” I try to hide the fact I currently hate my life, I’m feeling cheated, that “Life” is not fair, and I vehemently despise what I’m having to endure.
In reality, sugar-coated prayers hide nothing. He sees deep, deep, deep into my heart. Using “spiritually-acceptable” words to keep from sounding too wretched before Him is absolutely pointless.
I have long admired the psalmist David. His prayers did not tippy-toe around his true feelings. Often his psalms began with raw admissions of bitterness, jealousy, impatience, and anger.
Consider these prayers of his:
”I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:3) I’ve been there. I try to live right and work hard, yet I still seem to get nowhere. Then I look around and see the wicked getting all the “good” breaks. It doesn’t seem fair.
“Arise, O Lord, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked.” (Psalm 17:13 ) I feel with David here, too. At times, I honestly would not mind seeing my enemy fall flat on his face. Isn’t that horrid? But I feel uncomfortable expressing my feelings to Him in those terms. Well, guess what? I’m not fooling Him. Why not spill my heart before Him, ask forgiveness, and beg for grace to deal with difficult people?
”Oh that I had wings like a dove, for then would I fly away, and be at rest.” (Psalm 55:6) David was ready to leave it all behind. Could this be a suicidal thought? Perhaps. No one is immune from such thoughts. God isn’t surprised by any need I express to Him. He already knows it. He only desires for me to admit the desire to “escape” to a deserted island.
Trying to hide exhausts me, but being transparent brings relief. In none of these psalms does David remain unchanged. Once he pours out his heart, he finds his consolation in the Lord. His focus changes from the disappointments of life to the joy of the Lord. My focus can change, too!
I’m going to try to put away my hiding games and get real with God. It’s the only way to really win!
“Thou understandest my thought afar off.”