My kids are awful at playing hide-and-seek.
My toddler daughter likes to count with her splayed fingers over her face. My preschool son likes to laugh maniacally while I pretend to look for him, and he usually hides in the same place the entire game. But the best part? Both of them love to play. They might not be great at hiding or seeking, but they love the game.
Playing hide-and-seek with my kids reminds me of one of my favorite Winnie the Pooh stories. During a round of hide-and-seek, Christopher Robin asks Pooh where he plans to hide. He responds by telling the boy he’ll be hiding at “the honey tree, of course . . . Piglet will know exactly how to find me there.” Pooh wants to hide in a place where he knows he will be found. In Winnie the Pooh’s mind, the aim of the game is to be found, and he wants to make sure his friends can play the game easily.
Pooh plays hide-and-seek the same way my kids do. When my kids hide, they need to know they will be found. Hiding is not the point of the game, being found is. You win the game when someone finds you. For the longest time, John told me where he planned to hide before I started counting. He was terrified that he would hide one day, and I wouldn’t find him. He did everything in his power to ensure he was found.
It wasn’t just about winning for him. It was about being saved. It was about being seen. It was about being loved.
We live the same way my kids play hide-and-seek. We hide like Pooh. We hide like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We hide, knowing we will be found. We hide, trusting that God knows exactly where we are. We hide when we are ashamed. We hide when we are hurt. We hide when we are tired. But we don’t hide very well. God knows exactly where we are. He is the best Seeker in the universe, and nothing will be hidden from His eyes.
We are not very good at hiding. We hide as well as a 2-year-old crouching behind the couch with her ponytail hovering in the air. We hide as well as a 4-year-old, still tucked into the same tree he’s hidden in for the past five rounds of hide-and-seek. We hide as well as Pooh Bear, hiding where he knows he will easily be found. We hide as well as Adam and Eve, attempting to hide from an all-seeing, all-knowing God.
We were not made to hide. We were made to be found.
We try to hide so often. We hide from our spouses. We hide from our children. We hide from our parents. We hide from our friends and neighbors. We try to hide from our loved ones because we are afraid if they really see us, they’ll realize how unlovable we are. But here’s the thing. God’s love makes us lovable. God wants to love us, and we need to be loved. We need to be seen. We need to be found.
We were not made to hide. We were made to be seen. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who goes out to find the lost sheep. He finds what has been lost, sees what has been hidden.
We have hidden ourselves, but we all long to be seen. And God longs to find us.
We just need to come out of our hiding places. We need to be more like our children. We need to call out to Him. We need to reveal ourselves and invite Him to find us. We need to play hide-and-seek like the children we are. We are just children, seeking to be found, and God wants us all to be winners at this divine game of hide-and-seek.