My friend, Missy, remembers the day that she and her brother were fighting over who was to sit in the front seat of the car. Their mom impatiently said, “Whoever is coming, get in!” So they both jumped in the front together. (This was back in the day of no seat-belt laws.)
As the car made its way out of their neighborhood, Missy and her brother bickered and shoved each other, pushing for a bigger share of the front seat. A few minutes later, when their mom turned left at an intersection, the car door, which hadn’t latched, flung open and Missy went flying out.
Of course, Missy’s mother was horrified. She screeched to a halt, and jumped out to find Missy. But, after going all the way around the car, she didn’t spot her precious little blonde haired girl. So she feared the worst.
Was her daughter under the car? Had she run over her? Missy’s mother became frantic. She started running round and round the car, crying uncontrollably. Traffic stopped, and started backing up. People got out of their cars to help. But all Missy’s mom could do was shriek, “I can’t look underneath! I can’t look! My little girl…” And she kept going round and round.
Finally, one man was able to calm her. He said, “Ma’am, we’ve looked under the car, and there’s nothing there. How many children do you have?”
Missy’s mom sobbed, “I have two. A boy and a little girl
with blonde hair…” she broke into sobs again.
The man pointed out the little blonde-haired girl in the back seat of the car, and asked, “Ma’am, is that her, right there?”
There sat Missy, frozen in the back seat. After falling out, all she could think was, “I’m gonna get it now…” She had popped up and run to hop back in, and now sat crouched in the back seat, fearing what her consequence would be.
She had no idea why her mom was running around the car, stopping traffic. She was just trying to hide.
Missy now laughs at what she put her poor mom through. But even in the humor of that story, she recognizes a pattern in herself. Whenever there is conflict, Missy likes to hide. She doesn’t want to sort things out. She doesn’t want to face the person who is upset with her. She just wants to hide.
Hiding started in the Garden of Eden, after Eve took the fruit that God had forbidden. Hiding has to do with shame, guilt, and fear. When we’ve ‘fallen out’ of a relationship or good standing, hiding seems like the best course of action. But hiding just forces everyone involved to go round and round in cycles of conflict and distress.
God always invites his people out of hiding. He calls, “Where are you?”
Of course, unlike Missy’s mother, God knows exactly where we are. But rather than dragging us from our hiding place, he invitesus out–into the light, where all of the hurt and pain and frustration and anger can be sorted out in his presence.
Peace and resolution can’t be found in our hiding spots. They are only available in the light.