The story of God and the human race is a story of hide-and-seek. But this true-life story is not a game; it’s a story of life and death.
Human beings were not made to hide.
From the beginning, our great craving was to know and be known by God. This was lost when sin entered the picture. After the Fall, when God came to be with Adam and Eve, their response was fear, and they hid. They hid because they were ashamed. They hid from God because they didn’t think He could love them if He knew what they really looked like – inside. If He knew what they’d done.
Hiddenness is the first response to an awareness that we have sinned.
This has been the plight of the human race since the Garden. We hide despite His beckoning call and outstretched hands. We hide using rationalizations and denials -- denying our guilt and the truth of His love. Our hiding from God can stretch from moments into decades.
God’s reaction to Adam & Eve was amazing. His simple question was remarkably profound: “Adam, where are you?”
Why would an omniscient God ask that question? Did God not really know where Adam was? God certainly knew, but He allowed Adam and Eve to hide from Him. In gifting them with free will, God would not coerce them. Love has to be freely offered from a willing heart, or it's not really love.
That’s where the story really begins. God didn’t just walk away – He came searching for them.
We often think that it’s up to us to find God. It’s true that He invites us to search for Him. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13. But God is the one who first takes the initiative – God is the ultimate seeker.
The Hound of Heaven
“The Hound of Heaven,” is a poem written by Francis Thompson over 100 years ago. After living life as a destitute opium addict on the streets of London, he found redemption and his life was transformed. His amazing poem is autobiographical, describing the way God relentlessly pursued him while he was utterly, completely lost… and was finally found.
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears…
The short video below is a fantastic modern adaptation of that poem produced by Emblem Media. It's definitely worth watching...
We hide and evade, but God is the one who seeks — unhurrying, unperturbed, refusing to stop — the hound of heaven.
(A version of this post was first published on March 22, 2022.)