I had a moment of nostalgia the other day thinking of the childhood games I used to play with my friends. As kids we spent the greater portion of the day – get this — playing outside. We played everything from baseball and kickball, to less structured games like red light green light and wall ball. Although I loved them all, the one that really grabbed me in this moment of reflection was Hide n’ Go Seek. You know, the classic game where a group of people scatters to hide and one “lucky” person has the job of finding them. Most often no one wanted to be the Seeker, but someone had to accept the lonely task in order to play the game successfully.
What made my memories of this game even more vivid was the element of darkness. It was more intense, more difficult, and sometimes more frightening when played at night. You see, something is lost, counter-intuitively, when playing Hide n’ Go Seek during the day; the sun is shining brightly and there are fewer places to hide. But in the dark you can hide out almost anywhere, thus making it more difficult for the Seeker to find anyone. I smile as I think of this innocent game I played as a child and frown when I think of its implications as an adult.
We tend to paraphrase the title of the game from Hide n’ Go Seek to Hide n’ Seek. In doing so, we miss the game’s true essence. The word “go” means to continue in a certain state or condition. The Seeker must continue to seek until they find who’s hidden. A popular Biblical passage reads, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
Mirroring the game, the passage reminds us how challenging it is to seek God during our “nights”. When it’s difficult to see our hand in front of our face. When times are so bleak that we are just about to give up hope. Times when God seems so distant, times when we have no more tears to cry, no more voice to yell out. In times like these we must remember to continually seek God until we find Him, at least that’s what the scripture is alluding to. Just like we know our hand is there, we should be reassured that God is there. He doesn’t hide from us, our circumstances hide His presence.
We didn’t give up seeking when we played as children, what makes it any different now?
But oh, how I miss my childhood at times, when games were just that…games.