“Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:24, New Living Translation)
Did you have a special hiding place as a child? A closet, a hidden nook? Somewhere you felt invisible, unfindable? I often played hide and seek with some of my young visitors. I soon learned their favorite spots as they seemed to go to the same place again and again. I made a lot of noise “searching” various closets and under beds before I finally discovered their secret place. We enjoyed lots of giggles, and then we’d start the game again.
Hiding Doesn’t Work
Have you ever tried to play hide and seek with God? Well, it is usually more “run and hide” than hide and seek. Truthfully, there is nowhere to hide from God, although many have attempted it. The Bible tells us of some who tried.
Adam and Eve ran and hid, but it wasn’t a child’s game (Genesis 3). After disobeying God by eating the forbidden fruit, they tried to hide from His presence. They ran, but they really couldn’t hide. When God found them, they offered excuses for their action, but the close fellowship they once shared with their Maker was broken. We are still paying for their disobedience today.
Jonah thought he could hide from God’s presence in the bottom of a ship heading to Tarshish (Jonah 1). He objected to God’s plan that he preach repentance to the city of Nineveh. An encounter with a large fish in the bottom of the ocean should have taught him a lesson, but we find him again displeased and wallowing in self-pity (chapter 4) because the people of Nineveh did repent. This was one unhappy prophet! He thought his plan was better than God’s.
Elijah ran because of fear, not because God instructed him to run (I Kings 18-19). This is the same man who defied the false prophets of Baal and saw God do the miraculous on Mount Carmel, yet now one woman’s threats had him hiding in the wilderness. Did he think God was all-powerful on Carmel but could not now He deliver him from Jezebel?
Running to Mercy
We also have times when we try to hide from God. Perhaps, like Adam and Eve, we’ve disobeyed His Word and now we feel guilty and ashamed. Or perhaps, like Jonah, we disagree with something God asked us to do. We’ve come up with a better solution, or at least we think so. Or, like Elijah, we feel fearful and lack faith that God will see us through a bad situation. Whatever the reason that caused us to distance ourselves from the Lord, our relationship is not forever broken. He offers abundant grace and mercy, even to the runaway.
“For the LORD your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.” (II Chronicles 30:9b, ESV).
We may not physically run from God, as the three above did, but we sometimes hide ourselves in various ways. We hide behind excuses, stubbornness, self-pity, prejudices, and pride. Why can’t we recognize that God’s way is so much better than any alternative we may devise? The way back to God isn’t difficult, but it does require humility on our part. And communication. Talk to Him; He will listen.
Finally, instead of hiding from God, we must choose to hide in God. He is our place of safety, our refuge.
“You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah” (Psalm 32:7, ESV).
Lord, forgive me for the times I’ve hidden myself from honesty and openness with You. Help me to trust Your plan for my life—wherever that may lead me. You are my security and my hiding place.