Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it"~Matthew 16-24-25
When I was young, my absolute favorite game at play dates was hide and seek. The thrill of burying myself in the corner of my mom’s closet knowing there was no way my friend could possibly find me, there was nothing better than the ultimate hiding spot. Sitting there underneath folds of old snow jackets and shoes, I kept adding more of the junk in the closet to my little barricade only perfecting my ingenious hiding place. There was no way I could possibly be found. My friend, the seeker, was too polite and well-mannered. She would never dare to enter my parent’s bedroom, which was off limits, much less rifle through their closet.
READY OR NOT, HERE I COME
My heart racing a mile a minute, my stomach acting like it’s on a roller coaster, my lungs working in overdrive while trying to remain silent, I heard the footsteps right outside the closet door. I held my breath for what felt like 3 minutes. The footsteps walked along to the next room. Phew, I let out a breath full of relief. I did not want to be found...or did I?
After about 10 minutes of not being found, I started growing impatient. I could hear the laughter of my other friends, who had already been discovered, as they ran around the house. I tried to tell myself, Your spot is just too good. You are the best hider in the world. You are going to win.
But time just kept dragging on while my friends frolicked through the living room. I started tapping the wall a few times trying to get their attention, but amidst their giggles and all of the down feathered ski pants surrounding me the sound disappeared.
All of a sudden what seemed such a comfortable hiding place began to feel like a dark and lonely dungeon. The boots entangled themselves into an untieable knot, the ski clothes conspired to entrap me in this corner prison while the ominous walls closed in around me. More and more frantic, I kicked the sliding mirrored-glass door with great violence trying desperately for the seeker to find me. Still nothing.
Will she ever find me? Does she still care? Did she forget about me?
I do this with God often. I go where I am not supposed to go. Somewhere he has told me not to: away from Him. I think I’m really clever about it, and I get all nice and cozy in the ski pants of my own disobedience and start barricading myself in with my own self-interests, my own pride, my own desires. Hiding feels so good at first.
No one can see my mess. I am nestled into a spot free from judgment, free from vulnerability, free from risk. Venturing further and further into myself so that it’s hard for me to climb back out, I get really comfortable in my hiding.
Then, as time beats on, loneliness creeps in. I hear the joy and laughter of the found and jealousy emerges. I want to be like that, but is it too late? My self-interests complicate themselves into knots, my pride swallows me up, and my own desires ominously debilitate me. I feel trapped. There is no worse feeling than being trapped knowing I tied the knots myself, locked myself up and threw away the key.
Will anyone ever find me? Does anyone still care? Am I too lost to be found?
-Yes, the master Locksmith will find you.
-Yes, the victorious Seeker cares for you.
-There is no lock too complicated or hiding place too strong to keep Jesus away.
It is a sobering and beautiful moment of surrender, when we finally ask to be found:
Footsteps ran along the hallway and paused at the door to my parent’s bedroom, the point where no one dared to “cross.”
Help! Please, I am stuck and I can’t get out.
A moment of pause.
Then footsteps rushed in, doors swung open, my barricade torn down, light flooded in, and His pierced hands rescued me.