By Melanie Cave
My daughter was having a Monday morning wobble. “I don’t want to go to school!” Not wanting a tearful battle, I quickly tried to think of a way to reframe going to school in a way that would appeal to her.
“Can you remember that song we sing in church, the one you love on the Bethel Kids album?” I started to sing, “I’m chasing you… running after your heart…. You hide, I want to find you…”
Her eyes lit up. She loves that song. “Yes…”
“Well, did you know that Jesus is hiding in your school?” I said. “He wants to play hide and seek with you. I know he’s hiding somewhere at school, and you need to keep a look out for him. Do you think you could find him?”
“When you get home, you can tell me where he was hiding.”
This appealed to her. Her heart loves connection and relationship and she loves a bit of open-ended responsibility. Her heart was thrilled at the idea that her friend Jesus was hiding somewhere at school for her. She happily put her coat on and went out the door to school.
When I collected her that afternoon, she was grumpy by the time we had walked home. “What’s going on?”
“You didn’t ask me!?”
“Ask you what? I’m sorry I don’t know what you mean?”
“You didn’t ask me where Jesus was!”
“Oh! Did you find him?”
“Yes, he was in the corner of my classroom! I saw him crouched down in the corner. He winked at me and whispered ‘I love you!’”
She beamed from ear to ear.
The next morning, I reminded her she could look for Jesus again, and I decided to take it on a bit. “When you find him, you could ask him if he’s got a special mission for you: Someone to be kind to, someone you could encourage, someone who needs a good friend?” She glowed with this new responsibility and secret mission she might have in school.
(Her brother heard us talking, and said, “I want to play too!” This was catching on.)
That afternoon, she met me in the playground full of life. “Jesus was hiding in the cloak room by my peg. He was under the bench!”
“And did he give you a secret mission?”
“Yes! I’m supposed to share my sweets with my brother!”
This was amazing, the Holy Spirit is growing kindness and generosity in her, all the while she was cultivating a real and dynamic relationship with Jesus who loves her and who is with her everywhere she goes! And she was doing it on her own, while she was at school!
Yesterday without any morning reminder, she told me after school, “I found Jesus again today. I looked everywhere, and then when I was playing at break time, I realised he was right behind me. He was following me!”
I’ve been challenged by how she has met with Jesus so joyfully this week. I would do well to start playing this game too, enjoying the joy and playfulness of Jesus, who meets us in fun ways, because he delights in relationship with us.
Jesus doesn’t hide from us, but He hides himself for us, so He can be found by us. We get so much delight in discovering him in our everyday, especially in the unexpected places. Where is Jesus hiding for you today?
If you’d like to pursue this more, you could meditate on these Bible verses:
Jesus tells two parables in Matt 13:44-46. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
Both parables reveal that God has (or is) hidden treasure that needs to be sought out. That treasure is relationship with him, or that treasure may be discovering the Spirit of God at work in other people. But in every place that we find this treasure, it is worth the pursuit and sacrifice to have the treasure!
Isaiah 48:6 “From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you.”
Isaiah 45:3 "I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know I am the Lord, the God of Israel who summons you by name."
And you might enjoy this video about how Jenn Johnson wrote Chasing You.