We’ve just been on holiday my friends who have a little girl who’s just ten months old and is totally gorgeous (apart from the sicky episode in the car but I’ll let my Hannah tell you that story – never seen her move so fast!)
Here we are playing peekaboo with her elder sister’s hat.
So how come peekaboo is so much fun when you’re ten months old? How does such a little one work out that if she lifts the brim of the hat there’s a delighted grown-up (or my eight year old) smiling away behind it? Well it’s all to do with what the psychologists call ‘object permanence.’ Object permanence is all about understanding that objects still exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, or touched. Most babies begin to grasp the idea between 8 and 12 months of age and it’s an essential foundation for their cognitive skills. Babies of this age love peekaboo because it mimics what they are just coming to understand about the world: that objects and people still exist even when they can’t see them.
Sometimes my life feels like one long game of peekaboo with God. Sometimes it’s me pulling the brim of the hat down because like Adam and Eve in the garden I feel ashamed and unworthy. Sometimes the veil of grief or anxiety hides my view of Him. Sometimes it feels like God’s the one who’s doing the hiding and I’m wondering what direction we’re headed in next.
Perhaps life is better thought of as one long lesson in ‘God – permanence.’ That’s surely got to be an essential foundation for life in all its fullness – knowing that there is a God who exists even when He can’t physically be seen, heard or touched. The thing is, I doubt that it will only take me 8 to 12 months to fully grasp ‘God permanence.’ I’m guessing it will take a lifetime’s experience of the faithfulness of God, probably more like 8 to 12 decades!
Even better than knowing God’s permanence is knowing that the same God doesn’t just see me, He loves me and delights in me. It’s not just a case of “Big Brother is watching me.” There are smiles all round when I peek out from my hiding place.
In her song El Shaddai, Amy Grant writes,
‘To the outcast on her knees, You were the God who really sees.”
Whatever we’re going through, whatever’s happened, however much we feel second-rate or cast out, we can know that God really sees, really understands and really cares. There’s a woman in the Bible called Hagar, she’s not that well known, and in her lifetime she had every reason to feel ignored, alone and second-rate. You can read the rest of her story in Genesis 16 but I’ll leave you with her words because I think she understood this heavenly game of peekaboo perhaps better than some.
She (Hagar) gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me’ (Genesis 16:13, NIV).