Remember that old game hide-and-seek? It was a lot more fun in childhood. But I play a different type now to some degree, every single day sometimes. A game I was unaware of until I went on a recent walk in the woods for one of those conversations with my husband. A man who pursues. Who is imperfect. A man who I trust with my whole being—but, oh, my assumptive fear that hides instead of seeks in our relationship. All in the name of peace.

This hiding curbs my communication and my honesty—putting a rift in my relationship.

This picture of the childhood game does not just suit my marriage relationship, but it’s a game I subconsciously play with God, too. Hiding when I fall into the swamp of self-effort. Condemnation comes, like a fog. Sadness and frustration at falling prey to the same sin patterns again, then the navel-gazing.

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All the while curling up within myself, turned away from the gospel that has already sought me out and found me wanting. The gospel that justified me forever in the sight of God. By the power of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is seated at the right hand of God interceding for me. He doesn’t need to keep going up to God to ask for my pardon every time I mess up and slip into the pride of self-effort and feelings of unworthiness.

No, this good news is fact: Jesus is seated. I am already found. I don’t need to hide.

I can stand up and hide in His embrace or be carried and seen in my mess, again and again.

The unconditional grace of God initiates, bidding us not to hide, but be honest. Because a covenant requires a whole heart. The covenant of marriage and the covenant between me and God. Both are sealed forever—neither is going anywhere. The covenant relationship God has with His people through Jesus Christ is one from a kingdom that is strong and unshakeable. A kingdom we are living in now, and at the same time, we’re not there yet, in its fullness because Jesus tarries in returning.

This is to strengthen our hope and offer the deepest peace. So why do I strain after self-protectionprojecting assumptions from my fear of being too much onto my husband and God?

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It’s an issue of control. I want to control the peace and atmosphere around me. I don’t want to ever fuel my husband’s fears or insecurities. And I certainly don’t want to give God any cause to grieve or shake His head at me. But this is contractual thinking—not a covenantal mindset. Or a kingdom mindset.

In the strong and unshakeable kingdom of God, my right standing with God is not at all dependent on my fluctuating feelings or inconsistent patterns or irrational fears.

In this kingdom of God that I am an heir in, I have already been found. And am continually being sought out and pursued. I still need to receive it, again and again. Once and for all, my salvation is assured and received, but the ongoing work of sanctificationbeing taken from glory to gloryis something that must first be received. Taken in. Accepted. So shall the truth of the gospel be. That I was found out and found wanting, but Jesus paid it all—every past sin, present struggle, and future failure—on the cross. Once and for all.

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How worthy of awe is this fact? And yet I doubt its power and truth in the day-to-day struggle between my flesh and my “new man” that is alive and resurrected with Christ. Between the here and not yet tension of God’s kingdom, I struggle. I forget. I sin unconsciously and consciously.

But grace abounds. It’s not a game of hide-and-seek. I didn’t win it by luck or earn it by work. I didn’t need to find it—God drew near and draws me in. Over and over. Great is His faithfulness. He does the same for you, too, in whatever mess you might find yourself in. Come out of hiding. You are safe.

Meghan DeWalt

Meghan DeWalt is an author of stories about remembrance and redemption. A full-time writer, she is passionate about theology and discipleship, encouraging others to know and love God wholeheartedly in order to live according to their Gospel calling. Meghan lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Jeff, where they cook, practice hospitality, and adventure together.