This week I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with my mom. She is a woman of deep faith and personal piety, always up for reflecting on Scripture and always ready with an encouraging word. If you ask her, “What’s God teaching you these days?” or “What’s the Holy Spirit doing in your life?” you’ll get an earnest and inspiring answer.
One spiritual tidbit she offered me yesterday is her take on Jeremiah 29:13-14, “When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord.” She said this verse reminds her of playing hide-and-seek with a toddler. “When you’re the one hiding, you’re gonna let that baby find you!” she exclaimed.
What a beautiful image of our God – the caring adult who delights in the joy of a small child who finds them. It also works the other way, of course. When the toddler is hiding, they want to be found. Not right away, but not too late either. No matter who is doing the seeking, everyone wins when the one hiding is found.
We all want to be pursued and discovered, even (and perhaps especially) by the same person over and over again. The same is true with God. Just look to the biblical book Song of Songs, a poem about lovers, as another example of hide-and-seek with the Divine.
Our Prayer Book offers several versions of the Prayers of the People, one of which includes this line: “I ask your prayers for all who seek God, or a deeper knowledge of him. Pray that they may find and be found by him.” (p. 386).
This is my prayer before every worship service at Incarnation, that those who gather here would find and be found by God – in the liturgy, the music, the proclamation of the Word, the Communion bread, the sacred space, the community of the faithful, and most importantly in their own hearts.
Encountering God takes a variety of forms. It also takes practice and intention. As the seeker, are you actively searching, or are you lounging on the couch while shouting, “Here I come!” every few minutes? As the hider, are you positioning yourself behind the curtain in the living room, or are you running down to a dark corner of the basement?
There’s no science to hide-and-seek with God, and the analogy certainly isn’t perfect. But the promises of Scripture are true. “Seek, and ye shall find.” (Matt. 7:7). And God will find you too.