“We really were at our wits’ end! When I was telling friends about it, they were looking at me and thinking I was going round the bend.” So said Paul Henry, a retired print worker, who lives with his wife Jeanette in Essex, UK. A constant beeping noise had plagued their home for more than a year, but its source proved elusive. When the occasional beep increased to happening every 30 seconds it was the last straw. They paid for an electrician to test their home’s wiring. He suggested a builder may have left a smoke alarm behind a wall panel. So they hired a builder to knock holes in two of their walls with a sledgehammer, but nothing was found. The couple now have a gaping hole in their wall, which is expected to cost hundreds of pounds to repair.
Just as it was all getting too much, Mr Henry decided to search through a chest of drawers. Right at the bottom he found the culprit, a five year old smoke detector, with a ten year old battery which was running out. Upon finding the alarm, Mr Henry smashed it to pieces with a hammer.
Sometimes we hide things for a reason, but in a situation like this the sooner something is found the better. Isaiah, the Eighth Century Hebrew prophet, once wrote “Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God and Saviour of Israel.” (Isaiah 45:15) God hides Himself, what a strange thought! If God wants to be known, if God wants us to learn from Him and benefit thereby, why does He hide Himself? Why is God not so obvious to everyone? Why can atheists claim that God doesn’t exist, and not be challenged by all for their foolishness?
Perhaps it’s because if God was so obvious, very few would take the trouble to enquire further. God is looking for those who are sincere and passionate in their desire to know Him. It takes effort to build a relationship with anyone, God included. But does God really hide Himself?
We have two very obvious ways in which God has revealed Himself to us; first in nature. When we see the complexity of DNA, the power of the seas, the vastness of the universe and the beauty inherent in so much of our world, we see the hand of God. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “what may be known about God is plain to (mankind), because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20) The second way in which God has revealed Himself to us is through Jesus. He left His home in Heaven to spend approximately thirty-three years living with us, as one of us. He knew what it was to work, to laugh, to cry, to suffer and to die – and to rise again! Here was “Immanuel – God with us” (Isaiah 7:14) working miracles, showing love and compassion to the lost, challenging the religious hypocrites, speaking words of wisdom and authority that no one could contradict. Two thousand years have now gone by, but there has been no one to rival the Man whose “origins are from of old, from ancient days” (Micah 5:1-2) As Jesus Himself said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)
God hides Himself that we might know Him better.