A great temptation lurks in every heart. It creeps up in conflict. It echoes in heartache. It nags during trials. It is the tendency we all have to hide rather than seek. When we sin or go through difficulty, we tend to hide from God and from the relationships that we hold dear. In Scripture, however, we see that we are actually called to be those who seek out God and the lost, just as Christ himself sought us.
The tendency to hide is not new. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God (Gen 3), they realized that they were naked and ashamed, and they hid from their God. King David, after an affair with a married woman (2 Sam 11), attempted to cover up his sin with murder and spoke nothing of it. Jonah, when called by God to go to Ninevah, ran the other way in disobedience to hide from a difficult assignment (Jonah 1-2).
Why hide? Adam and Eve hid because they were ashamed of the sin they had committed. David was fearful of being discovered. Jonah wanted to avoid a situation that he believed to be unjust or uncomfortable. Vulnerability, exposure, and discomfort all bring to light that we are indeed sinners and… well, a mess. We are not as loving as we would like others to believe. We are not a good as we think we are. We are not as generous as God calls us to be. So we hide. Maybe if we don’t bring it up, cover it up, or run from it, no one will know and I won’t have to deal with it in ourselves or in others.
The disposition of hiding, however, is contrary to the God’s character and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- God sought Adam and Eve in the garden and covered their shame.
- God sent Nathan the prophet to expose David’s sin that he might be restored through repentance.
- God saved thousands of people headed to destruction by getting Jonah to where he did not want to be.
- Jesus said, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). He beckons people, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28).
Our God is a God of forgiveness and grace bought by the precious blood of his own Son. What do sinners have to fear by coming to the one who can wash them clean and heal them completely?
Whatever sin, struggle, hurt, or unfordable calling that you may have been hiding from, stop. Bring it out into the light of our caring, forgiving, and commissioning Savior who heals and restores. Bring it to your church community who can demonstrate the mercy of God by supporting and helping you through the trial. Don’t hide. Trust the character of God, and go seek forgiveness, help, and healing.
For those of us who have likewise experienced the mercies of Christ through the words and works of the church, let us join in that work - the work of Christ - to seek out those who are hurting and in the mire of sin. Show them the love and forgiveness of Christ. He can restore even the worst of sinners. We are first hand witnesses of this in our own lives. Don’t hide. Model the character of God, and go seek those who need to hear again the beautiful gospel of Christ.
Kristen Ferguson is a member of Lakeshore City Church. As a wife, mom, and Director of Online Education for Gateway Seminary, she strives to make Christ's name known around the world.