She sits three people down and to my left on the church pew. I say “sits” but toddlers don’t sit much. Or for long. Sporting a pink and orange dress, she is up and down and all around. Reaching for hymn books and Bibles then on the floor before climbing back up again to look at the folks sitting behind her.
Being a Dad of twin daughters, I’m a sucker for cute kids and this little girl takes my attention briefly away from the sermon. She looks my way. I smile and wave. She pulls back and hides on the floor behind her Daddy’s leg. I know what’s about to happen. In a few seconds her head pokes up over the top, like a turkey looking over a log. I smile and wave again. This time she grins and disappears, only to peer out from below. We continue the game until she is distracted by a church bulletin she discovers on the floor.
Peek-A-Boo is played between a big person and a little person. A simple game generating joy for both players.
From the perspective of the little person, the game is driven by one question: Will the big person be there the next time I peek?
From the perspective of the big person, the game of peek-a-boo is driven by a different question: How many times will the little person peek before they realize I’m still here?
God’s known me since before time (Psalm 139). I’ve known him for about 45 years. He’s always been there. Every time I look, He’s there. Yet I still catch myself playing Peek-A-Boo with God.
He was there the last time I looked. And the time before that. So what is it that makes us peek to see if He’s there the next time?
When the doctor says it’s cancer, we peek.
When we lose our job the same week we find out we’re expecting a baby, we peek.
When our kids seem to forget every bit of wisdom we taught them and go down a bad road, we peek.
When we start life over in a place we never wanted to be, we peek.
When someone we love struggles with an addiction, we peek.
When our spouse passes away and we’re left alone in a suddenly too big house, we peek.
When we’re grinding out life, wondering what is our purpose, we peek.
From our perspective, the game is driven by one question: Will God be there the next time I look?
From God’s perspective, there is no question. Only a promise. A promise never to leave us. While we human big people may tire of playing peek-a-boo with a toddler, God is never exhausted or exasperated by us. He knows our frame. He has compassion on us as a father has compassion on his children (Psalm 103).
The irony of playing Peek-A-Boo with God is that while I’m peeking, wondering if He will be there, I’m surrounded by evidence of His faithfulness. Years ago I peeked when at age 37, I thought I’d never get to be a Dad. God blessed me with twin daughters. I peeked when starting life over from zero in a place I never wanted to be. God blessed me with wonderful friends. I peeked when wondering if I’d get to do life with someone. God blessed me with a great wife. I peeked when praying for a place to use the abilities God gave me. God blessed me with jobs that utilize my talents.
Some of these blessings happened faster than expected. Most of them were years in the making. The constant is that every time I peek, God is there.
God promises to be there for you, too.
Is it silly to play Peek-A-Boo with God?
Then again, we are His kids.
And God never tires of the game.
“The Lord is compassionate and merciful; he is patient and demonstrates great loyal love. He does not always accuse, and does not stay angry. He does not deal with us as our sins deserve; he does not repay us as our misdeeds deserve. For as the skies are high above the earth, so his loyal love towers over his faithful followers.
As far as the eastern horizon is from the west, so he removes the guilt of our rebellious actions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on his faithful followers.”
– Psalm 103:8-13
Todd A. Thompson – May 14, 2014