Hide & Seek

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The concept of “Seeking God” has always fascinated me. The first time I really felt God speaking directly and personally to me was through Matthew 6:33. When I was in middle school, I seemed to see that verse everywhere I turned. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” The concept followed me through every other stage of life, in different ways and through different verses. In high school it was was Jeremiah 29:13, “And ye shall seek Me and find Me when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.” And in college it was Isaiah 55:6, “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.” Then one day I stumbled upon a verse that threw me for a loop. It was Romans 3:11 which says, “There is none that understandeth. There is none that seeketh after God.”

What was that supposed to mean… There is none that seeketh God? Not one?

As I was reflecting on this, I began to think about the game of hide and seek. What does the game consist of? Someone hides, and someone tries to find them, right? But is God hidden that He needs to be found? What kind of God would hide himself from the people he loves and came to save, and then command them to come searching for him? I imagined this kind of God peeking his head out from around corners, laughing at us in our fear and confusion. And just when we’ve almost found him, he runs and hides again. That’s the image of God that a lot of people have in their minds today, but that’s not the God we serve. God is not hiding. God is not playing games. He is not mocking us. God reveals Himself to us everyday, in both big and small ways. Since the beginning of creation, God has desired a close and intimate relationship with us – but it’s our sin that separates us from Him. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.”

We are the ones who are hidden.

Look at Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They were created in the image of God. He formed them from the dust of the ground and breathed His very life into them. And for a time they lived and moved among Him. They walked and talked with Him. They were completely naked in the presence of God, and they felt no shame. That’s the way God intended us to live, with nothing to hide and no need to seek. But our sin separated us from Him. Scripture says Eve saw the fruit of the tree. It was pleasing to the eye and desirable for gaining wisdom, so she took it. She ate it, and she gave some to her husband, and both of their eyes were opened. For the first time, they saw their nakedness and they felt shame. So what did they do? They sewed fig leaves together. They made coverings. They tried to hide it.

Adam and Eve disobeyed the clear instructions of God, and a moment of desire led to an eternity of shame and suffering. That is the power of sin. That is what God warned us about, and that is what He tried to protect us from, but we turned away. We are led astray when we open our eyes to what the world offers and close our ears to what God orders. We are led astray when we listen to the lies of the enemy over and above the truth of God’s Word. We are led astray when we seek pleasure over purpose.

But God, in His infinite mercy, doesn’t abandon us in our place of weakness. As Adam and Eve hid from God among the trees, God called out to them, “Where are you?”

We are the ones who were led astray. We are the ones who were lost. We are the ones who covered ourselves with fig leaves, like empty good deeds, to cover our sin and conceal our shame. We are the ones who tried to hide among the trees – unable to look upon the face of the One True God, much less go searching for Him.

“…There is none that seeketh after God.”

But God, in His infinite mercy, came looking for us. He came searching. He came calling. Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Jesus came to seek us and save us. He came to call us out of hiding. But it is up to us to respond to the call.

When God called out to Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” – It was not because He didn’t know where they were. There was a purpose behind it. I’ve noticed that whenever I’m upset about something, my friend always asks me, “What’s wrong?” And it frustrates me – because I know she knows me well enough to know what’s bothering me. So what’s the purpose of asking a question you already know the answer to? But she does it for my own well-being. She does it because she knows I need to give a voice to the hurt. I need to admit it, confess it. I need to let it out so it doesn’t fester inside of me. And it’s the same way with God.

God doesn’t ask a question He doesn’t already know the answer to. Jeremiah 23:23-24 says, “Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.” God is both near and far, He fills both time and space. He is omnipresent – in all places. We cannot run from His presence. He is omnipotent – all-powerful. There is nowhere we can hide that He can’t find us. He is omniscient – all-knowing. He knows us better than we know ourselves. We cannot hide our heart from the God who created it.

When He asks, “Where are you? – It’s because He wants to hear our response. God could have gone directly to Adam and Eve, He could have forced them out of hiding. But what would that have accomplished? Relationships are built on communication – call and response, question and answer. God desires a relationship with us. He is our King, not our Dictator. We have been adopted as children, not forced as slaves. He desires our loving obedience, not robotic obedience. A relationship with God is an invitation to commune with Him. He knocks at the door of our heart (Revelation 3:20), He doesn’t force entry. John 10:1-3 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” This is the same Good Shepherd who leaves the 99 to go searching for the one lost sheep (Luke 15). This is the same God who comes searching for us in the midst of the storm, in the midst of our fear and confusion, and bids us come to Him walking on the water (Matthew 14:28-29). This is the same God who says, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). This is the same God who says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

He is calling, He is waiting.

Seeking God is not about going out searching to find a hidden God – It is about coming out of hiding. It is about stepping out of darkness and into marvelous light. It is about running wholeheartedly toward the One who has revealed Himself to us. It is about drawing near to the God who has already drawn near to us. It is about seeking and finding the God who seeks and saves us when we are lost.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found.

 

 

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Transparency

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What does it mean to be transparent?

The Merriam-Webster definition is 1) “having the property of transmitting light without appreciable scattering so that bodies lying beyond are seen clearly, fine or sheer enough to be seen through” or 2) “free from pretense or deceit, easily detected or seen through, readily understood, characterized by visibility or accessibility of information.”

Transmitting light. Clearly seen. Free from pretense. Free from deceit. Easily detected. Readily Understood. Characterized by visibility.

These are all qualities we desperately need in the body of Christ.

We call ourselves “Christians” – and we’ve painted an image of what a “Christian” looks like… But our image doesn’t reflect the Christ we represent. Our Christ was transparent. He was light. He was life. He was truth. He told His followers, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Jesus was real. He was honest. He withheld nothing. He lived to please no one but the Father. The religious leaders scorned and ridiculed Him, but God delighted Him and declared over Him, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).

To look at Jesus was to see God.

When the disciples asked, “Lord, show us the Father.” Jesus boldly declared, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-9). That’s the definition of transparency. That’s how well Jesus represented the Father. If we call ourselves followers of Christ, then should we not strive to live just as transparent?

If we are representing light, then why is there still so much darkness in the world?

If we are representing truth, then why is there still so much deceit in the world?

It is because we have our light hid under a bushel, and we’ve concealed the truth behind a mask. We’re afraid to be seen, afraid to be known. But in our fears, we’ve blocked the world from seeing and knowing who Christ truly is.

Hiding has never been easier than it is now.

Masks have never been as accessible as they are now.

We live in a world where we create the life we want to portray to the world. We only post the pictures we want people to see, and we only share the stories we want people to read. We photoshop and shape our image to meet our standards – ignoring the fact that God Himself, in all His Glory, created and shaped us into His image. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, but what God sees as wonderful, we see as woeful – so we hide it away. We literally conceal and make-up our faces, and filter our memories. We delete what we don’t want, and edit what we want to change. We pick and choose, cut and paste, move around and re-arrange. We, the created and formed, try to take on the job of creating and forming.

We are the work of God’s hands, not the other way around. He is the Potter, and we are the clay, but we’ve tried to shift the roles. Romans 9:20-21 says, “But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”

Special is purposeful.

Common is useful.

God has a plan and a purpose for every aspect of our lives. We may not always understand His ways, but we have to trust His will. And in order to stay in His will, we must stay on His wheel. When we neglect the process of the Potter, we slow the progress of the clay. The Potter is powerful enough to create the most beautiful of masterpieces from the most broken of messes. When Jeremiah went down to the potter’s house and saw him working at the wheel, God revealed a powerful message to him. Jeremiah 18:3-6 says, “So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, ‘Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?’ declares the Lord. ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.'”

Like marred clay in the hand of the Potter, so are we.

I heard it said once, “There is nothing more beautiful than to be broken in the arms of the Savior.” These words ring so true in my life. Some of the most beautiful moments in my life have been moments of brokenness. We need to learn to embrace the beauty of our brokenness. Brokenness brings us together like nothing else can. It unites us with other broken people who share our same sorrows and bear our same burdens. More importantly, brokenness brings us closer to the Savior by awakening our need for His presence and power in our lives.

We live in a broken world, but if the world never knows we’ve been broken then how will they ever know we’ve been healed?

Without transparency, how can we relate to the brokenness of others? How can we bear one another’s burdens? How can we comfort and encourage one another? How can we give hope if we never share our hurt?

How can we ever live out the Gospel if we never extend the Grace that was given to us?

This world needs truth.

This world needs transparency.

There are broken people in the world who need to see through your healing, past your heart, and to your hurt. They need to see Jesus through it all – to see the hand of the Potter at work.

Don’t stand still. Don’t keep quiet.

Don’t let fear hold you captive. Don’t let shame hide your face.

Share your brokenness. Share it boldly. Share it beautifully.

At the communion table, Jesus broke the bread so He could give it away. At the cross, Jesus, the Bread of Life, was broken so He could be given away.

The word “communion” in the original Greek language is “koinoia” which means “sharing in common.” When we break the bread and drink the wine of communion, we are sharing in the suffering of Christ. The cross ties us together by a common bond. We have all sinned. We all fall short of the glory of God. We all know the death, disease, and destruction that comes as a result of the sinfulness of this world. We are not alone in our brokenness. We are not alone in our shame, nor in our sorrow.

The word “koinoia” also translates to “fellowship” – and transparency is what makes deep fellowship possible. True fellowship requires transparency, and true transparency requires confession.

Proverbs 28:13 says, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…”

Confession is an act of surrender. It is opening yourself up to receive mercy, opening yourself up to receive healing.

I challenge you to be more transparent. Find someone to confide it. Confess whatever sins and struggles you are facing right now. Expose your weakness to find your strength. Tear down the walls of your pride to build trust and find peace. Take off the mask you created and learn to embrace your true identity in Christ. Let go of everything that holds you back and weighs you down. Stop playing games and pretending to be someone God never intended you to be. There is freedom in surrender.

Don’t be afraid to make yourself known. When you lay down the burden of hiding and pretending, you will discover the joy of simply being. Be loved. Be who God has called you to be. No more shame, no more fear.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”

– Ephesians 1:3-10