It began in the beginning, as so many things do. Adam and Eve heard God walking in the garden. They had just eaten fruit from the forbidden tree, so they hid. Adam’s explanation: “I heard You in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”
When Moses realized it was God speaking to him through the bush that was on fire but didn’t burn, he “hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.” There are scholars who say he was afraid to look at God because people of his day believed they would die if they saw God face to face. I can’t help but wonder if Moses could just as easily have said, “I heard you in the bush and I was afraid because I killed a man, so I hid.”
There is something about our sin encountering God’s holiness that makes us want to hide. Much like the little girl in the picture, we would like to assume that if we can’t see Him, He can’t see us. Such silly humans. We accuse God of hiding from us when we don’t see Him responding like we think He ought, but the truth is that we are the ones who (pathetically, with futility) hide in plain sight.
In contrast, God promises that we will find Him when we seek Him with all our heart. (Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 7:7-8) Our desire to hide is the result of shame and shows how little we understand the gospel. Repentant believers need not fear God’s holiness or try to shamefully hide our sinfulness. He is fully aware of our transgressions. Why else would He have provided a resolution to them? In fact, His ability to grasp the gravity of our immorality is far greater than our ability to comprehend His holiness… or His grace.
The gospel says that believers no longer live under condemnation, but under the righteousness of Christ. In essence, we are hidden in Him. God sees us through the lens of His Son’s crucifixion and resurrection and says, “That is enough. I am satisfied.” The only place we should be hiding is in Jesus. And even then, we should be hiding in order to be found, restored, forgiven and reconciled with the One who seeks us.