“Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”” (Genesis 3:9)
We came across a new toy at Walmart the other day. It’s the “Hide and Seek Jojo Interactive Bunny.” Supposedly, the bunny can play hide and seek with your kid. To play this game, the child takes the electronic carrot and hides, and Jojo the robot bunny will seek and find the child. My reaction to this toy is one word: disgust. My reasons are:
- It tells me that kids these days are so lonely that you have to buy a robot to play hide and seek with them.
- It turns the biblical narrative of hide-and-seek completely upside down.
What do I mean by point #2, you ask? One of the most beautiful scenes in the Genesis narrative happened right after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve hid themselves out of shame, but God sought them out. God declared consequences for their sins, yet He also pointed the way to salvation. Finally God clothed them, and released them from the garden of Eden. What disgusted me about Jojo the bunny is that, in place of an all-knowing, a perfectly righteous and a perfectly gracious God, the seeker was a non-knowing, amoral, robotic bunny.
My “disgust” might sound harsh. However, I think kids who play hide and seek are indirectly exposed to opportunities to learn about truth. Not long after each of my two boys learned to walk their first steps, one of the first new games I introduced to them was hide and seek. When we started out playing hide-and-seek, I would hide, and they would seek me. We had so much fun with it. They laughed so hard when they found me, and I couldn’t help but enjoy the game as well. Not only was it an opportunity for them to try out their new legs, they were also learning about a special joy in life — the joy of being found.
When they grew a little older, I would try to play hide and seek with them with the roles reversed. I would ask them to hide, and then I would count to ten and then go out and find them. Interestingly, whenever I finished counting to ten, my eldest one Chase could not wait for me to find him, and every time he would just come rushing out of his hiding spot. I thought about this over and over, and I realized an important lesson — for kids, hiding is harder than seeking. Because there’s so much joy in being found, in being known, that Chase could not wait for it to happen. His desire to be known and to be found was so great that he had trouble staying hidden from me.
No wonder the kingdom of heaven belongs to kids, because they understand the need of being found, which reflects our spiritual need of being known and being found by our God. Deep down, we each have a need for intimacy with God. Unfortunately, as we grow older, hiding gets easier and easier. Our sinfulness causes us to hide from God. Our tendency to love the worthless things of the world gradually ate away our need for God.
So don’t laugh next time if you see me take the game of hide-and-seek very seriously, because there is a lot of meanings and truths behind this game, and it is worth pondering on.