Hello weekend readers. What a week we’ve had, “romper-room politics” – “football’s ugly violence” – “bomb-cyclones helping drought but decimating roads and homes” – and so much more, add yours right in. My musing is “sometimes God hides and why?”

One of my favorite authors, Margaret Feinberg, who hosts the popular podcast, The Joycast, (I love her podcasts and highly recommend them) has often said: “The hiddenness of God invites us to search and seek and squint for ‘the good stuff’. To pursue his presence and purposes—the unexpected ways He’s revealing his love and goodness in a sideways world.”

When I read that, I couldn’t help but think of Jesus’ birth—people were longing for the Messiah and probably had their ideas of how that would occur, but—the way God sent His Son—was more than anyone would have even thought of!

In the Bible we find a bevy of riddles, recurring patterns, clusters of symbols and even cryptic imagery. Jesus spoke in parables, God had parallels and figures of speech and layers of truth that, centuries later, we are still exploring. Just reading the book of Revelation shows a hidden language of mystery and would confound the smartest “Harry Potter Hogwarts!”

Scripture overflows with riddles and recurring patterns, cryptic imagery and clusters of symbols. God speaks in parables and parallels, figures of speech and layers of truth that take centuries to explore. Even the book of Revelation is written in the language of mystery. Here’s a few examples: *who expected a fallible man from Ur to become Moses, the father of the faithful? *Who imagined an artsy shepherd boy would become King David? *Who would have dreamed a beauty queen named Esther would rescue the Jewish nation? Yes, God has hidden surprises all through the centuries and still does.

Dr. Rev. Fred Craddock (1928-2015), a powerful preacher and beloved Professor of New Testament teaching at Candler School of Theology, penned the words: “God often disguises the good stuff.” 

Why does God do this? Sadly, some folks think God deceives because God’s answers are not what they wanted. But those of us who have come to love and put our faith in God know better. The Prophet Isaiah also knew otherwise and he boldly declared God’s timely ‘hidings’ in his words from 45:15 (NKJV),

“Truly You are God, who hides Yourself,
O God of Israel, the Savior!”

Isaiah strongly believed that the hiddenness of God was to invite us to search and seek and yes—even squint for “the good stuff.” God’s invitation to us continues—urging us to pursue his presence and purposes, including the unexpected ways He’s revealing his love and goodness in this sideways world we live in. I don’t know about what you think of this “hiding God” but to me, it is an invitation to an adventure in the realm of God’s love, mercy and grace. Hey, sign me up, I’m all for adventures especially with God!

So often we ask God to show us what we want to see, but maybe for this New Year, we should ask God to show us what God wants to reveal to us. Let’s face it, we need the ‘good stuff’ that is not from this world but comes only from the heart and wisdom of God.

In fact, I have a better idea about asking God; since we just finished the celebration of Christmas and Epiphany and have left year 2022 behind and jumped into year 2023, perhaps our prayer should simply be “O God, give me Jesus anew as I tread life in this new year.” AMEN.