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Emmanuel Church, Plymouth
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St Paul's, Efford
Tony's Reflection 7
What were your favourite games, when you were little? I don't go back as far as hoops and sticks, but I remember very well the simple fun and pleasure of hide and seek. There was the scramble to find somewhere to hide away. Then the delight of finding and being found. Maybe I was too young to have got the game quite right, but as a little toddler I took huge delight in my Dad finding me. I can still see the pretend surprise on his face as he “discovered” me, "invisible", tucked away behind the curtains.
Have you ever thought that God might sometimes play hide and seek with us? In some ways, as long as we are on this earth, God is hidden from us. We cannot see him. When times are uncertain and challenging, it can be even harder to see him. At those times, not only is he hidden from our sight, he can be hidden from our hearts, too.
Over the past few weeks, we have been looking at the message of God's spokesman Amos. His final appeal to the people around him has God saying to them,
"Seek me and live!" (Amos 5:4)
So long as we are this side of eternity, God is hidden from us. He calls out to us to seek him.
When you are a child playing hide and seek, the effort you put into the seeking is in deadly earnest. Let's be just as serious about the efforts we put into seeking God.
Last week, we were looking at turning our hearts towards God. "Turning your heart towards God" is just another way of saying "seeking God”. Seeking God is directly personal. It is between you and him. It is where you look for a person to person encounter with him. It is not getting more religious, not even going to church for its own sake – although going to church can be a part of you seeking God!
But this is not just a repeat of what we heard from Amos last week. He takes us one step further this time. He tells us clearly and directly what the point is, in us turning to God or seeking him. It is that we should "live"!
That is not just "live" as in "stay alive with your heart beating" (although just that is a pretty good promise, right now).
It means "live" as in living a life which is full, rich and purposeful.
When we seek God, he will let us find him. For a little child, the delight of “finding” when you are playing hide and seek is huge. There is just as much delight for us as we seek and then find God. Even more so when he causes us to “live”.
How does God make us “live”? He comes closer to us. As he does, every day life changes. There is someone else there with you in it. You are more aware of him. That someone brings a sense of love and joy, just by being there. You may still be doing much the same things as you did before, but the way you do them and the way you experience them will be different.
That can be true for you, in a fresh way, today. It can be true whether you are new to faith, old in your faith or have never even had that kind of person to person trust in God before.
I have been a Christian and known God in my life for over 45 years. During this lockdown I have been using the extra time to seek God. He has allowed me to find him. He has brought an extra love and joy into my day to day life which has been a surprise and a delight.
This can be true for you, too.
Seek God … and you will live. Live to the full.