Despite my busy-ness, my daughter Baraka (6 years) usually calls me to take a break from what I am doing so that we can play. One of her favourites is 'hide and seek'.
More often, I hide in a way that makes it easy for her to find me. I enjoy the joy and excitement she expresses when she finds me. Once in awhile though, just for a change, I hide 'seriously'. When I do this it wouldn't be easy for her to find me. That was my hiding. What about hers?
It has never been difficult finding Baraka. In her innocence, she knows that whenever Pappa calls, she has to respond. Usually, after she has hidden, I would go around asking: "Baraka, whereee—areee—youuuuu?". She will quickly respond to my calls and say: "I ammmm—hereee!" I will then go straight to where she is 'hiding' and 'find' her.
At one time, her mother (my wife) amused at how the girl who was supposed to be hiding but who keeps on revealing where she was, gave her tips on "the secrets of keeping one's hiding place secret". "You are not supposed to respond to your dad when he calls!" That didn't help. Any time I called, Baraka would respond as a matter of impulse.
This reminds me of another 'hide-and-seek' game—one that traces the origin of the 'play'. It also involves a child and his Father. It is the story of Adam and God. The Father had given the 'child' some instructions which the 'child' defied when he was prompted by an enemy do so. Not in a position to face the Father after his mischief, Adam decided to hide.
The Father came around, calling: "Adam, where are you?" Without hesitation, Adam responded. He was supposed to be hiding, but by talking back to God, he had just 'revealed' where he was. He 'helped' the Father find him effortlessly.
Today, 'children' are still 'hiding' from the Father. And they do so in the following contradictions and paradoxes:
i) Hiding in the Garden of Eden—God's garden. How about people who are hiding in the church—the very place that should define the presence of God?
ii) Not only is the Garden of Eden a place where God visited quite often, it was His, leased to man under some terms. What about today? The Church belongs to God, yet, that is exactly where some people come to hide because they want a cover for their lifestyle of sin. When those people shout: preaching and singing, aren't they calling God's attention to where they are hiding? (Amos 5:21-24).
iii) If we cannot fear God enough to help us shun sin, why would we fear man enough to make us run into 'God's backyard' to hide our sin from man? Even if we were to run away from Him, we know very well that we cannot hide from Him, yet we run to Him to hide our sin from Him (Psalm 139:7-12).
May we not 'waste' time thinking that we can 'successfully' hide from God. "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13 NIV).