A visit to the Kruger National Park always reminds me a little of a treasure hunt. One can spend many days there, and each day will yield its own trove of “treasures” discovered, and by that I mean animal sightings! The SANPARKS website states of the Kruger National Park, “Where nearly 2 million hectares of unrivaled diversity of life forms fuses with historical and archaeological sights – this is real Africa.The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa.” (https://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/)
On a recent trip we only had a single day in the park, so we had to choose the route carefully. We entered at the Phalaborwa gate and travelled towards Letaba Rest Camp, then on to Olifants Camp, and back. The anticipation of sighting animals was high, and the excitement when a sighting did occur palpable in the car. It was an overcast day, so at first I thought, “Great! Animals would not be hiding in the shadows from the heat of the day and we had a better chance of seeing them in their natural habitats.” But, weather notwithstanding, we had far fewer sightings than anticipated.
This made me think about myself and God.
When I read the story of man’s first home on earth, I read there that God came to walk with man in the cool of the evening. I always imagine this as a special time of fellowship and friendship, where God and man could swop stories and experiences about the day. Yet on a particular day, man hid himself from God and failed to make the appointment.
“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, Where are you?” (Genesis 3:8-9)
Now, I believe that God wasn’t unaware of where they were, but rather that He wanted to know why they were not coming out to meet Him. Today, nothing has changed. Guilt and shame still causes man to hide from God, and He is calling out, “Where are you?” In other words, please come out and let us have a conversation… tell me about your day… tell me about your experiences… tell me about yourself. And let me tell you about Myself, and also who you were made to be. The reason for man’s existence has always been a passionate and intimate relationship with God!
Seen from a different viewpoint, often we cry out, “God, where are you?” when we experience difficulties and troubles. Sometimes it seems that God is “hiding” from us when we don’t get answers to our prayers inside the time frame we expect. But God is not hiding. God simply knows the situations better, knows us better, and knows the perfect time to “reveal” Himself to us. At the moment of revelation our understanding and perspective is changed, and we see like God sees.
We tend to hide from God because we feel guilt, shame or a certain sense of vulnerability. Because of our limited understanding we often think that God is hiding from us. Our hiding away is real, God’s is perceived. Yet there is the glorious moment of discovery! Just like the child’s game of hide-and-seek, the true purpose is discovery. God wants to “discover” us to have fellowship and an intimate relationship, and we have an innate desire and need to “discover” God in our lives.
So, while driving through the park, looking for animals, and being rewarded with some truly beautiful sightings, the surrounding nature reminded me of God and the deep need I have for fellowship. Every day is a day of hide-and-seek, of discovering who God is and who we are in/with/through Him.
Are you ready? Are you in anticipation for new discoveries?