It will happen, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you will see my back; but my face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:22 23 WEB)
I was the youngest of three brothers. As children we enjoyed the normal games of childhood. There was “Ghost in the Graveyard,” “Freeze Tag,” and the ever popular “Hide and Go Seek.” I usually lost. I was suspicious my brothers would gang up on me and report my position to one another and insure I was always “it.”
I wasn’t looking forward to a life of always being “it” so I accepted the Lord’s call to the mission field and left the country. For more than thirty years my brothers and I’ve been playing hide and seek with each other around the globe.
I’m no longer found hiding under my parent’s bed or sitting in the closet on my brother’s stinky shoes. These days they just type in my email address and let the wonders of the Internet find me. I know I’ve been found when I hear “You’ve Got Mail” oozing from my computer speakers.
We share with one another the current events in our life while Mom provides regular parental advice between messages. Unfortunately there are some events which go beyond her expertise. Playing hide and seek with an Octopus is one of those.
Snorkeling is a great hobby. Of course you don’t see much if you practice in the local pond. A nice tropical beach, plenty of sunshine to burn your back and a picnic lunch waiting on the beach are the perfect ticket.
We were enjoying the beauty, warmth, and relaxation of Agat beach. Protected from sharks by the coral reef I donned my goggles, plugged a snorkel into my mouth and floated away from shore. The coral reef is home to a plethora of beauty in multi colored fish, artistic formations and miniature sandscapes created by the currents.
Caution must always be applied when snorkeling. The clown fish are very protective of their realm and will nip at your toes, fins and fingers to drive you away. Sea Urchins anchor themselves in the crags of the coral and cause good news, bad news stings. The good news is you won’t die; the bad news is the pain might make you wish you would die.
One afternoon I was surprised to find a small octopus seeking refuge amid the rocks. My first instinct was to scream but swallowing sea water isn’t fun. My second idea was to swim like mad for shore but I figured the octopus was faster than my little fins.
While staring wide eyed through my foggy goggles I realized the baseball sized multi-legged glob of jelly was just as scared of me as I was of it. I moved closer and it scrunched tighter into the rocks. I backed off a little and it oozed out enough to see me over the rock. Up and down, in and out, we played our little game until I returned to the shore.
I was excited with my discovery and playing hide and seek with the octopus. I’m sure Moses was thrilled to be hidden in the cleft of the rock when God strolled between the pieces of offering. He couldn’t pop out of the rock because God protected him with a loving hand. There were things he wasn’t permitted to see for his own good.
The octopus was interested in watching me to know what I’d do next. His concern was for his own safety in the face of a creature many times his size. Moses was interested in seeing God’s hand work with the children of Israel. He was satisfied to see God’s back and enjoy the protection of God’s hand. Are we satisfied with God’s revelation in our life or do we want to push aside the hand and try to see more than we should?
Sometimes we hide in closets and under beds to play a game with those trying to find us. God hides us in the cleft of the rock to let us know He is present, caring for us and leading the way. He doesn’t need to find us. He knows right where we are.
Trying to sneak a peek at my brothers would almost always make me “it” because I gave away my hiding place. God is always “it” in the Christian life. Like Moses we need to take comfort and courage with what God chooses to reveal. It’s here we know God is leading, God is providing and God will reveal all we need to know, no more, no less.