“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7, 8 New International Version)
I remember playing “hide and seek” as a little girl in my grandparents’ three-story house by the Atlantic Ocean. “Hillcrest” rested on a rise overlooking the southern Maine coast with its rocky promontories. This magical house boasted a wrap-around porch, two staircases, an ancient kitchen, a shadowy attic, and plenty of beds to hide under with its eleven bedrooms.
My cousins and I played a version of the game called “sardines” which required one person to hide and all the rest to spread out looking for the hiding place and then cram in with the hider as secretly as possible until only one lonely searching child remained who then “lost” the game.
Searching and not finding – it didn’t feel good, especially as the game progressed and there was no longer anybody to keep me company. Isn’t it wonderful that Jesus makes us the promise that if we seek him, we will find him?
Musician David Crowder in his song “Deliver Me”, draws us another picture – we hide and God searches for us: “All of my life, I’ve been in hiding, wishing there was someone just like you. Now that you’re here, now that I’ve found you, I know that you’re the wonderful Maker.” (David Crowder Band, “Illuminate”, 2003)
Almost all of the summers of my formative teen years I stayed with my grandparents and had ample opportunity to seek God in the breathtaking beauty of the rocky bluffs that overlooked the ocean. I found a natural seat carved by wind and waves and spent hours hidden from view in the rocks, gazing out at the sea and seeking to connect with the Almighty. High tide splashed the seat with cold salt spray and low tide uncovered endless sand stretching away to the ocean’s edge below my perch.
A few years ago, God brought to mind a mental picture of my teenage self on that rocky love seat. He gently asked me if I realized where He had been as I sought his comfort and guidance during those vigils. He wasn’t hovering far out over the ocean or looking down on me from the sky, Jesus was sitting right next to me, warmly pressed up to my side. “Do you see? I was that close to you all that time you were lonely and seeking me. And I am still right here, closer than any friend!”
We are not engaged in a perpetual game of hide and seek, or a cosmic swimming lesson; God does not continually move farther away as we swim toward Him.
This is an ancient and binding promise: “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29 New International Version)