“You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, LORD, do I seek.’” (Psalm 27:8)
They hid among the trees of the garden, the perfect garden he created for them to enjoy. After disobeying God’s clear instructions, Adam and Eve camouflaged themselves among the trees, hidden away “from the presence of the LORD” (Genesis 3:8). Foolishly, they imagined they could conceal themselves from the one who knew everything, who knew them better than they knew themselves.
Jonah followed a similar route and went to Tarshish “away from the presence of the LORD”, (Jonah 1:3) believing he could hide from God below deck as the vessel sailed across the Mediterranean Sea. God employed pagan sailors, a tempestuous sea, and a willing fish to redirect the prophet’s path. God never had to find Jonah; he knew where he was all along. The Lord is always looking for us, too, following us, bringing us back to himself. When we are afraid and running scared, he takes us “under his wings” (Psalm 91:4) and hides us from calamities of all dimensions. As we dwell “in the shelter of the Most High” we get to hide out securely “in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).
When we are hiding because we feel ashamed, the consequences of our disobedience descending like an avalanche, he calls us to remember the psalmist’s words: “Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared” (Psalm 130:1-4).
At times we, too, are tempted to hide from the Lord among our own particular set of trees or in the bowels of our own ship as it slips far away. With Adam and Eve, with Jonah too, God reminds us that he always knows precisely where we are, and yet he lovingly seeks us out. The wonderful truth is that when we belong to Him, we can never be lost from Him. Let us make the choice to run toward him, to hide ourselves within the shelter of his presence, to stay where we belong.
“For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD” (Psalm 27:5-6).
Elizabeth A. Mitchell