Hide and Seek


Where is God?


If God is real, then where is He?  Where is He when cataclysms of nature swallow up thousands of people in a few moments, or peoples crash against one another like the tossing of waves on the sea, as blood, fear and slaughter fill the streets?


Hasn’t this been a burning question down the ages?  From the most rationalistic thinkers like David Hume to the most wretched and simplest of suffering victims in this world, this question has scorched our minds, confounded humanity and often left it in despair and disbelief. 


Today is no different.  The writings of the most vocal atheists of the day are really just elaborations of this old question – they do not offer any new answers.  “Where is your invisible God in all this mess of human history?”  Their conclusion is based on a false assumption – if I can’t see him then he’s not there.  It doesn’t take a student of logic to understand that this does not necessarily follow.


But the question is a legitimate one.  This problem – the so-called “theodicy of God” – is one of the oldest and deepest cries of the human heart. 


And yet – says Blaise Pascal – it is just what we should expect if the Bible is to be believed.  The hiddenness of the Creator, and yet our ability to sometimes catch a glimpse of Him testifies to the depravity and the glory of man.  It speaks of exactly who or what we are.  Being fallen, God is hidden from us.  Being made in His image, if we seek Him, God may be found.


When was the last time you played hide and seek?  Can you remember what made it a good game?  As kids, I would play for hours with my two brothers.  My older brother was always too good – he’d hide himself up so well, half an hour later no one would have found him and we’d all give up bored and frustrated.  My younger brother, on the other hand, was always in the first place you’d think to look!  The skill of the “hider” is vital, but a seeker who gives up too easily can ruin a game just as well.  There are two parts to play here and there must be a balance for the game to be worth pursuing – the “hider” well holed up but not so well-hidden to deny the seeker the satisfaction of his genuine effort and imagination – the reward and delight of finding the one he has enthusiastically searched for.


So where is God?  G.K. Chesterton painted a picture of a God who has merely turned his back on the world.  Still in our sin, He cannot look at us, nor we at Him.  Though He has not left us standing alone.  We are not abandoned. 


Instead, we find ourselves thrown into a world weighed down by His receding presence.  ‘The presence of an absence” if you like – like the perfume of a woman who’s just left the room.   Everywhere we experience those fractured moments of joy that C.S. Lewis describes so well: in nature, or nostalgic memories of childhood, or a forgotten melody, an evocative scent or story – those evasive moments that crack your heart even as you try to seize hold of them, but realise you cannot.  A homeland where you know you belong, yet you’ve never seen.  The traces of God as He slips from the grasp of your soul.  If God’s back is turned, it is only through relentless pursuit that you may get a glimpse of His face – and when you do, you find it to be beaming with delight at the game in play. 


Is God hidden? Why, of course!  But may He be found? YES – but only by those who would seek.  This is the absurdity of the resolute atheist’s position.  “God is hidden – I cannot see him – so He is not there”.   As Christians we can agree, indeed God is hidden, of course you cannot immediately see Him - but have you looked for Him?  Have you joined the game?


As Jesus said – “Seek and ye shall find” – yet it is in the seeking that, being lost, we ourselves are truly found.  It is in the pursuit that we discover the most delicious of paradoxes: though God was hidden to us, in fact He is all around us; though we believe it is we who are the seekers, in fact we are the hidden, our true selves to be found in His one true son, the true seeker to be no one less than our Saviour God. 

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