Is God Hiding?


I gave Julie a Sara Groves CD for Christmas, “Fireflies and Songs” and I have totally fallen in love it. Julie and I both listen to it front to back and on more than one occasion I have found myself singing the opening line from the title track, “Thirty years ago I was a little girl…”Now that we have been listening to it for a month we are starting to engage the lyrics on the various tracks.  Groves has a beautiful Folk, Bluegrass, Country sound and lyrics that will break your heart if you dare to listen too closely.

In Fireflies and Songs she sings about the human need for intimacy and there is an obvious analogy to our search for God.  She compares it to a song you hear and then desperately want to lay hold of.

We’re looking for the music
in the music box
tearing it to pieces
trying to find a song

Later she compares this search to searching for a firefly,

We’re looking for a firefly
moving through the night
staring at that one place
swear it never lights

In his book God is Closer Than You Think, John Ortberg writes,

This guy Waldo is supposed to be on every page. The author assures us that it is so. But you couldn’t prove it by me. He is often hidden to the untrained eye. You have to be willing to look for him. “Surely Waldo was in this place, and I knew it not.” When you find him, there is a sense of joy and accomplishment. In fact, developing the capacity to track him down is part of the point of the book. If it were too easy-if every page consisted just of a giant picture of Waldo’s face-no one would ever buy the book. The difficulty of the task is what increases the power of discernment.

The author said he hides Waldo so children can learn to “be aware of what’s going on around them. I’d like them to see wonder in places it might not have occurred to them.” But sometimes it takes a while to find Waldo. It demands patience. Some people are better at it than others. Some people just give up. Part of what makes it hard to find Waldo is that he is so ordinary-looking. In the initial pages his presence is obvious. Later on, he’s hidden but the other occupants of the page are giants and sea monsters, so Waldo still stands out. Then eventually we come to the last and hardest page. By the end he’s in a room full of Waldos virtually identical to himself, the only distinction being that one detail is different, such as he’s missing a shoe. Handford allows rival Waldos to counterfeit his identity. You can be looking right at him without even knowing it. Where’s Waldo? Why doesn’t he show himself plainly? Why does he hide his face? He may not be absent, but he is elusive. He is Waldus absconditus-the Waldo who hides himself.

God is found only when he is sought. Rather than nag or pester us, God is present in the details of every day life but will not force himself on anyone. Those who fervently avoid him will find that they can live their lives without him. It almost takes a woundedness to be able to see God.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;

Psalm 34: 18-19

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