I didn’t wait for a response from you to my last e-mail because I promised you I’d write more on the question as to why God doesn’t show Himself more than He does. I’ve come to believe that God’s less than obvious presence actually can motivate us to seek Him. It’s our seeking Him that can actually deepen our relationship with Him. Let me give you an analogy.
I raise chickens for a hobby and sometimes one of the ladies gets broody, sets on her eggs for three weeks and hatches several little chicks. Those chicks follow their mother wherever she goes. Sometimes it seems the mother hen is a little hard-hearted in how she moves ahead of her brood of chicks, forcing them to run after her.
But I read once that the more the chicks have to work at keeping up with their mother, the greater the imprinting. (Imprinting, by the way, is the intensity of attachment the chicks have for their mother.) In other words, the more they have to chase after their mother the greater their attachment to their mother. Maybe the fact that God seems to be at a distance and almost hidden from us, and that we have to go seeking Him, actually can deepen our relationship with Him! His distance can motivate us to draw nearer.
I feel uncomfortable pushing this point too far, though. I don’t want to leave the impression that I think God is always running and hiding and we’re always trying to find Him. The experience of many people of faith, and the Bible itself, make it clear that God also pursues us! In fact, the mother hen does this, too.
On many occasions I’ve seen the mother hen anxiously go after a wandering chick, clucking with greater intensity in an effort to get the chick to stay close. And just try to pick up one of her irresistible little chicks to cuddle in your hand, and you’ll find out how mean a hen can be!
It has been said that we live forward but understand backward. I believe it. The experience of some who “discover” God is the surprising sense that God was there all the time, working in their lives, pursuing them, even though they neither recognized His presence nor responded to it.
So which is it in this game of hide and seek with God? Is He hiding or seeking? I think both. He yearns for us to seek Him even as He pursues us so that He can be found.
I need to start on the rest of my day. There’s a woman in our church who’s terminally ill and needs a visit. It’s strange. I go to encourage her, but I come away being encouraged. She’s quite a woman of faith.