Once children can count beyond the number of their fingers they graduate to serious pastimes like playing Hide N Seek. Our two-story home with multiple closets offered numerous spots for concealment and my daughters loved to play the game, especially against Dad. Is there any activity more fun than waiting quietly for a chance to scare the animal crackers out of your kids? Well, Pull My Finger comes close, I guess.
The rules for Hide N Seek are simple:
- Choose someone to be It.
- It hides his eyes and counts to some astronomical number such as thirty.
- Peeking while counting is cheating.
- The Not Its run to find a place to hide.
- When the countdown expires, It yells, “Ready or not, here I come!”
- It seeks out the Not Its.
- Much laughter results from the unexpected reunions between It and the Not Its.
- The first Not It found will be It in round 2.
My childhood home offered little in the way of indoor hiding spots, so we adapted Hide N Seek to become Spotlight, an extreme outdoor sport. Spotlight was played after dark, and It, the seeker of the lost, employed a powerful flashlight and his senses to locate Not Its. With rocks, trees, depressions, and dirt piles we had plenty of hiding spots. It learned to keep the light off until a Not It was detected then aim for the eyes.
Hiding was only part of Spotlight. Mosquitoes feast on inert sweaty bodies so Not Its moved to better locations in an attempt to circle behind It. Any Not It who returned to base without detection tagged up and yelled, “Free!” If all Not Its returned to base without capture, It remained at his post for the next round. A poorly performing It could therefore be searching all night. The first Not It captured became It in round 2.
Low-hanging clotheslines and lawn furniture aided the seeker in Spotlight. Not Its who forgot the location of the obstacles were doomed to become easy prey. The sound of running feet stopping short followed by the oomph of a falling body clued It to swing the light toward the groans. A downed man was easy to illuminate.
On my birthday a few years back Shawn informed me she had my birthday present in the trunk of her car. I suspected a sack of bird food or a shop tool of some sort. Imagine my delight when I popped the lid to find my daughter, Amanda, who drove home from college to hide and yell, “Surprise!” Sweet! Now that’s taking Hide N Seek to a new level.
Playing Hide N Seek with God is a losing proposition. He’s everywhere, sees everything, and knows everything. There are no workable hiding spots, yet people play the game.
Consider Saul (1 Samuel 10:21-22). Chosen to be Israel’s first king, Saul shunned the pomp and circumstance and located a hiding place. He was good at Hide N Seek as no one could find him. The people asked God for Saul’s location, and of course God knew. “He’s hiding by the baggage.”
Score: God 1, Saul 0.
Jonah tried Hide N Seek with God, too. Refusing God’s direction to visit Ninevah, Jonah hopped a merchant ship heading the opposite way, crawled deep into the hold, and fell asleep. Jonah deployed the toddler variation of Hide N Seek, “If I close my eyes, no one can see me!” The ploy never works with parents, and certainly does not fool God. God stalled the ship’s journey with a terrible storm that ended miraculously when the sailors ejected Jonah from the deck. Asked later for Jonah’s location, one sailor pointed and responded, “He’s inside that big fish over there!”
Score: God 1, Jonah 0.
And then there’s King Jeroboam who practiced evil till he perfected it. His son fell sick, and Jeroboam sent his wife to inquire of Ahijah, God’s prophet, about the boy’s future. The king hoped that his wife’s disguise would fool the prophet whose eyesight was poor due to advanced age. God revealed to Ahijah that Mrs. Jeroboam would be arriving shortly, and Ahijah was to give her a message for Jeroboam in 1 Kings 14:9 (NASB), “…you also have done more evil than all who were before you…”
Score: God 1, Jeroboam 0.
God has an unfair advantage when we challenge Him to a game of Hide N Seek. Surely, with all the scriptural examples of men who played and lost, we aren’t still trying to hide from God, are we?
Copyright © 2015, John W. Nichols. All rights reserved.