Hide-and-Seek

A horrible sounding sputter and  a dark cloud of smoke emanated from the hood of April's car.

Uh-oh.

Pulling over as fast as she dared, she turned the car off,  threw the door open, and leaped out.

Just in case it exploded.

Tentatively walking to the hood, April yarded it open. "No, no, no , no. Please don't do this to me , you steaming heap of metal."

More smoke billowed from the car's engine in the shape of a mushroom as she propped the hood open. April didn't know a lot about cars, but she was guessing that was bad.


April Fool's Day. What a perfect day for a practical joke from God.

All the months of frustration, heartache, and weariness started to overwhelm her. This was it. This was the moment she would loose it , forever becoming the crazy lady who walked the side of the road.

"Urgh! Why God? Why? I'm going to loose my job. Then I won't be able to pay my bills, and I will get kicked out of my apartment!" God had allowed so many horrible things to happen to her. Where had God been in those times? Where was He now? She had tried to go to church and find Him. It was like she was playing hide-and-seek with God in the dark.

But all she could find was darkness.

Collapsing by the side of the road, tears flowed down her face. A warm breeze ruffled her bangs. "Where are you, God?"

Her whisper was answered with another breeze.

Like God was wiping away her tears.


When I was a kid, my friends, family, and I would play hide-and-seek for hours after school. Even as an adult, I love hide-and-seek. I love playing it with the kids in the youth group. The part that I love the most is when I find the best hiding spot, and the kids completely miss me! They could be waving their arms two inches from my face, but not see me. And when that chair leg crashes down on my ankle, they don't hear my muffled cry of agony. That's right!

We are the champions!

Sorry. Back to the subject.

I tried to illustrate through my short story that sometimes people feel like they are playing hide-and-seek with God. Some people will say they are looking for God, but no matter how many tables and chairs they look under, they can't find Him.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7
 
That's not true. If you will look for God, you will always, always, always find Him!
 
So my favorite Psalm is 139. This is my favorite part:
 
"Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me."
Psalm 139:7-10
 
God's got you. He's never left you. He's holding your hand.

Some of you may be giving me a dubious look, with a half glare on your face. With an arched eyebrow you might say sarcastically, "Joy, what about when the hard times come. What about when disease, death, and disaster strike out lives. Where is God then? Answer that one all wise and knowing, dolt."

Fist off, harsh.

Second, God is still there. I know that's not what you want to hear, but it's true.

Have you guys spent any time in the book of Ruth. There you will find a dear woman by the name of Naomi. In Ruth 1:1-5, you learn that Naomi was once very happy.

Once.

She had husband and two sons. Then famine struck. She and her family moved out of Israel and into the land of Moab. The last box is finally unpacked, and then her dear husband died, leaving her with just her two sons. Those young men each married, and for awhile things were good. Naomi spent her days among family and friends, anxiously awaiting her first grandbaby. Then both her sons, the light of her life, died. Leaving her alone.

She and her daughters-in-law were going to travel back to Bethlehem, but Naomi tried to persuade them to go home. One of them did, but Ruth stuck with her mother-in-law, totally adopting her and her lifestyle.

Once they arrived in Naomi's home town, Bethlehem, people started to flock to their sides. Everyone was flabbergasted at the arrival of Naomi. But Naomi's bitterness was etched upon her face. In her anger she declared, "Don't call me Naomi anymore! Call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?" She felt like God had abandoned her, and taken away everything she loved. She blamed God, and was giving up.

Okay, I don't know about your Bible, but the footnotes in my Bible give the meanings for Naomi and Mara:
 
Naomi-Pleasant
Mara- Bitter

My husband noted something really cool. Even though Naomi said, "Don't call me Naomi; call me Mara," all throughout the book, she is still referred to as Naomi-like God didn't acknowledge her angry name change. Like God was saying, "I've still got so much in store for you. You will be pleasant once again."
 
Like the story in the beginning, we will be going along fine, and then hit a brick wall. We get out to look at the damage, kick the torn up bumper off our car, and freak out. We've all responded like Naomi. We've all taken a situation, and instead of trusting God or even being pleasant about it, we purposely choose in our hearts to become bitter.

Naomi would come to find out that God had not abandoned her. That even though the perils of this world broke her heart, He was putting it back together.

What about us? What about you? When death, disaster, and destruction hit, does your view on God change? When your car breaks down, do you scream and blame God?

Can you find God in the dark?

I love these two songs. And I couldn't pick just one.



Life won't always go to plan, but if you will look for God, you will find Him. Even in the dark times. He doesn't play hide-and-seek with you. He's holding you. What you need to hold onto is that God is real. And He will never leave you empty or thirsty. He will never let you go.

And that is no April Fool's joke.

See you guys on April 10th!
 
V. Joy Palmer