Our God Who Hides and Seeks

May 9 / Lacy Finn Borgo
Cindy’s (not her real name) ritual for beginning our time includes grabbing our battery powered candle and holding it up high above her head. In a dramatic fashion she turns the little candle on and makes a face of surprise and wonder as the tiny plastic flame flickers on. She taps the flame with her index finger and says, “God loves me,” pointing to herself. And then says, “God loves you” and points to me. Every time she does this my eyes tear up.

In addition to meeting with adults in spiritual direction, I meet with children at Haven House, a transitional facility for families without homes. When we begin our time together children are given a set of images to rifle through and choose one that they like or most represents how they feel at that moment. Some children look through the first few and some children search the whole stack taking special care to take in each one.

One this day, Cindy took her time with the first few and then chose the image above. Cindy is differently abled. It can be hard for me to understand what she is trying to communicate and her capacity to be patient with me is decidedly short.

“Can you see it, Lacy?” she says. “See what I?” I ask. “Jesus playing hide and seek with her… uh, with me. I look for Jesus and Jesus looks for me. Jesus hides and I hide, but we find each other. We playing.”

She says this with all the profundity of a child telling an ordinary story from school. Still, I heard the whisper of God, and it niggled my heart and mind. God, it seems, is a big fan of hide and seek. In response to reciprocal longing, God and humans seek. And in honor of autonomy and process, God and humans hide.

Love requires spaciousness to grow. Imagine encountering the most good, most beautiful, and most real Being. Without freedom for autonomy, the space to choose, we’d fall all over God. We’d throw aside our own self. We’d clamor to connect without bringing ourselves with us. God wants us to come into our own, to hear our own longings and to become who we are at our core.

When we cannot sense God, we go seeking. We try all the things we think are God and, in the process, we discover ourselves. God simultaneously hides and seeks. But God never smothers. Like a good mother, God knows that our autonomy matters, and she stays close enough for us to feel her presence, but not be overwhelmed.

Just after Cindy left our session covered in watercolor paint and a smile, I began to think about God’s game of hide and seek. There are so many places in our world and in my life where I want God to show up in a way that shakes and shatters the darkness. And yet, God doesn’t. Sometimes I wonder if God is missing. No, God is not missing God is simply hiding nearby waiting to witness our true selves emerging.

In her honest and encouraging book, Special Grace: Prayers and Reflections for Families with Special Needs, Elrena Evans invites us to hope.

For Hope
God of hope, we come to You with outstretched hands.
When our hearts feel sick with longing,
Give us hope.
When our eyes can’t see the clearing,
Give us hope.
When our feet are tired from falling,
Give us hope.
When our hands are numb from reaching,
Give us hope.
Until all our very being is fully found in You,
Give us hope.
In the breaking and the yearning, in our finding and our losing,
and in every step along this pilgrim path, give us hope.
Tend our fragile hearts, Lord. Teach us how to find our hope in You.

(Evans, 91)

Lacy Finn Borgo

Lacy Finn Borgo, DMin, teaches and provides spiritual direction for various organizations in spiritual formation and spiritual direction including, Renovaré, The Companioning Center and Mercy Center, Burlingame. Lacy has a spiritual direction and supervision of spiritual directors ministry for adults, and provides spiritual direction for children at Haven House, a transitional facility for families without homes in Olathe, Colorado. Her book Spiritual Conversations with Children: Listening to God Together was released March 2020. Her children’s book All Will Be Well will be released October of 2022. Lacy lives on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains and worships with a local Quaker Meeting.