Hidden in Plain Sight
Fact: Children are always hungry.
It doesn't seem to matter in our household whether they have just eaten a full meal, had multiple snacks, and are awaiting dinner coming out of the oven momentarily--they still want something to eat.
Yesterday, my husband came home with some protein and snack bars. Shortly after, my youngest son, who is five, came bouncing and dancing down the stairs to me, one of the snack bars in his hand. Still cavorting, he made his plea (moments before dinner time, I would add): could he have the bar? Knowing that he has especial difficulty with a “no” response when he is hungry, but further knowing that he would struggle to eat whatever was healthy of his dinner if I acquiesced to his pleas, I thought I came up with a great idea. I told him that he could hide the bar for snack time tomorrow.
You see, in a house of seven kids, you never know if the food item you want so badly will be there if you wait. Maybe someone else will take it, and by the time you have patiently waited for it comes, it may be gone, with no trace of evidence for who might have indulged.
My son was very pleased with this idea, and happily went running off to find the perfect hiding spot where no one could find his anticipated treat.
This morning my husband stopped on his way out of our closet, and noticed our empty metal laundry basket, sitting on the concrete floor against the wall. Behind it, and clearly showing through it, were the bright red and orange colors of the wrapped snack.
Hiding in plain sight.
In his little five year old brain, this was sufficient. As adults, we can clearly see that his hiding place and method were not sufficient to keep others from finding them, but sometimes we, if we're honest, find ourselves doing the same thing. Hiding in plain sight.
I have been reading through the Genesis narrative, the Creation, and the garden of Eden. This morning, I had come to the story of the Fall. Adam and Eve had been placed in a perfect garden, full of beauty, joy, and full satisfaction. There was not a single need that was not filled. The couple enjoyed the very Presence of God every day. God had given them one commandment only: They were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or they would die.
The serpent came to Eve, and in this timeless story, beguiles her into eating the fruit. He tells her that God is holding out on her. He tells her that she needs this, and tries to convince her that she is not satisfied or complete without having both this beneficial fruit, as well as the special knowledge that comes with it.
Eve justified to herself that the fruit would satisfy her bodily appetite (good for food), regardless of the fact that all of her bodily appetites were already met. She told herself that it satisfied her desire for beauty (though she had been surrounded by beauty). She convinced herself that it would give her knowledge to control, as she assumed, her own destiny (rather than trust her Creator to provide), she took it and ate it, and gave it also too her husband, Adam, to eat.
When they ate it, the Scripture says that “the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made for themselves coverings.” Gen. 3:7.
They traded wholeness, satisfaction, and security in an all-powerful, all-good and all-knowing God for a lie. A lie that left an emptiness, exposure and an acute realization of their need and hunger for all things from that point forward. No longer were they satisfied. No longer were they warm and well fed. No longer could they delight in the beauty that they had. Now, they would be constantly craving their needs for food, shelter, clothing, sexual appetites, beauty, knowledge, and security.
Their eyes were opened.
Since that day, there is not a one of us who hasn't fallen for the same lie. We have all left the God-given gifts of provision, beauty and future that He created us to have in Him to pursue our own covetousness appetites.
We have all “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things, rather than the Creator.”
And it's so easy to do!
King Solomon had everything. He spent his lifetime building up knowledge, wisdom, wealth, wives, food, armies, security, palaces, and a reputation that spanned the globe. In Ecclesiastes, though, we find that the only result was that he proved to himself and to the rest of us that none of this inner craving can ever be satisfied even with a lifetime of pursuit. “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity,” he said. It's all worthless. It doesn't fill the inner need. “...the eyes of man are never satisfied.” Prov. 27:20b
We find that pursuing our goals, ambitions, and even needs are an endless occupation. A constant striving within our contexts at which we never “arrive.”
And then, as we look around us and find our focus zeroing in on what we lack, we “sew for ourselves fig leaves,” temporary and grossly insufficient ways to protect and cover ourselves from what we have no control to change or prevent.
We try to save up our monies in our investments, to ward off poverty. We gather friends from our acquaintances, to ward off loneliness. We seek intimate relationships to fill an unsatisfiable craving for intimacy, sexuality, and companionship. We collect household items, makeup, and clothing to try to satisfy our craving for beauty. We collect toys or tv subscriptions to ward off boredom. We seek addictive substances to dull the emptiness and to help us forget our pain and dissatisfaction with life. We even try to do good things to cover our shame and substitute good for the wrong we have done. But none of these “fig leaves” cover us.
“All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”
We find that none of this takes away the constant craving and need.
So we hide. Our guilt at our own rejection of the goodness and provision of a loving God seeks a hiding spot. Using His own provisions with which He has surrounded us, we retreat from His presence, hoping to escape the disappointed eye and just condemnation that must surely follow our rejection of His good gifts. Hoping to blend in, camouflaged from the “eyes of Him to whom all must give an account.” Heb. 4:13
But just like my dear little son's idea of a hiding spot, so is our pathetic attempt to hide from His Presence!
I only a God nearby,”
declares the Lord,
“and not a God far away?
Who can hide in secret places
so that I cannot see them?”
declares the Lord.
“Do not I fill heaven and earth?”
declares the Lord.
When I was very little, my grandma would come to watch my older brother and I. He loves to remind me of the particular time when I had found some very old and thoroughly bloomed Easter candy chocolate eggs in our basement still hidden in a dusty corner. My brother had a high sense of truthfulness and rule-following, but I did not. He knew the story of Adam, and there was no way he would partake with me of this forbidden fruit. Not that I would have offered.
No, this candy was found by me, and I was determined to hold on to my findings. He ran immediately to tell Grandma, who, at my denial and our subsequent fighting, most likely felt out of her element to unravel the justice of the story. So I remember that she sent us both to sit on the davenport. I thought she must mean the front porch, and after some confused looks and questions, she explained that “davenport” meant the sofa.
We both dutifully sat down on either end of that davenport. I kept very quiet and studied to keep an innocent face while Grandma talked to us. But as soon as she left the room, I took the sofa pillow that was on my side, and buried my face behind it. My brother, sensing my guilt, and knowing my devious mind, immediately changed his voice pitch to a higher octave, and called incessantly to Grandma, hoping desperately to have her come and catch me in the act, justifying his claim. When she walked into the room, I once again pulled my face out of the pillow, to face his accusations with innocence. I didn't know that the chocolate spread out over my face betrayed my guilt to the eyes of my Grandma.
Our hiding from God is a hiding in plain sight. He sees all, and He knows all. “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Heb. 4:13
But just as with Adam and Eve, He comes to us in our sin. He draws near, because He still loves and cares for us. He knows that we have “all sinned and are fallen short of the glory of God.” In His love, He wants to freely justify us with His grace, with the blood covering of the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus.
As Paul told the Gentiles in Acts 17:27, “God intended that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” He comes close, and He calls you by name. “Adam, where are you?”
He knows where you are today. He knows what you've done. He sees you in your pathetic attempts to cover your shame, failures, and sin. He has watched you try to find satisfaction in everything He knows can never give you what you crave.
Jesus comes near to you, and He calls you.
“Where are you?”
Your Creator made you for one ultimate, satisfying, intimate and every-need-fulfilling relationship with Him. He draws near and calls you out of your sin, because He intends for you to seek him, reach out to Him, and find him.
God's love for us in our sin is to great that He chose to demonstrate it in the deepest way possible. “But God demonstrated His own love for us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. Jesus, God in flesh, came down to dwell with us, to walk with us, and to draw near to us. Jesus said of His own sacrificial reaching, “But I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men to myself.”
God didn't leave Adam and Eve hiding, naked, in the bushes. They chose to walk out of their sin, out of their hiding, and to place themselves under God's judgment. The good God who could have justly condemned them forever, instead made a sacrifice to clothe them, and gave them a promise of His final redemption through Jesus' blood that they could look forward to in hope.
I used to think that their banishment from the garden, and from the Tree of Life, was only a further punishment. But now I know that it was the beautiful, loving mercy of God. It symbolized the promise that He would protect them from living for eternity with the shame and brokenness of the past. Instead, they would live out this life, and then shed their bodies for a new life in Him that could never be broken again.
Just as God made a blood sacrifice in the Garden to clothe them, He provided a blood sacrifice for us in Jesus. Jesus' blood is our covering, our clothing, that brings us back into a full and restored relationship with an intimate and loving God. Rather than “setting our minds on earthly things,” which can never really cover our shame or satisfy our craving, through His blood we are now “hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:2-3
Through Jesus' blood, we are no longer hiding in sin, we are now hidden in God.
But what about our earthly needs? Oh, He knows! Our “heavenly Father knows that we need all these things.” Matt. 6:28-34. As we seek His righteousness and His kingdom first, He provides all that we truly need in His perfect timing and perfect way, but without the emptiness and pain that comes from seeking our own way. “The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it.” Prov. 10:22.
I have known too often the painful labor and sorrow that comes with trying to build my own kingdom apart from His. But the richness of life in His Presence, is something that cannot be taken away or marred, no matter what my circumstances or surroundings are.
So what will you do with the Presence of God?
When you sense His approach, when you hear His voice calling you out of your worthless shame, guilt and pursuits, will you come out of your hiding? Will you let Him replace your fig leaves with His righteousness?
Will you let Him restore you to a relationship that satisfies your every desire?
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Halley Faville lives with her husband and children in their mountain home in Oregon.