I closed my eyes and began to count. One, two, three. Little stocking feet scampered away as boyish chatter receded.
Four, five, six. The baby cried. I could hear my sister in the other room, as she soothed him.
Seven, eight, nine. A childish voice broke into my count. “Caweb, here!”
I smiled. Life was never dull at my sister’s house. I’d flown in for a week to help her just after the birth of her fourth son. The little guys ranged in ages from 6 all the way down to 3 days old. Hide-and-seek kept the older three busy for a while, so she could focus on the newest arrival.
Ten! Ready or not, here I come!
The older boys knew to stay quiet in order to remain hidden, but not Caleb. I opened the front closet door. “Caweb, here!” echoed down the hall.
I peered behind the shower curtain. “Caweb, here!” drifted into the bathroom.
I glanced beside the washing machine. “Caweb, here!” He was beginning to sound insistent.
I stepped into a bedroom, and there he lay. Head tucked under the bed. Eyes screwed shut. Arms and legs and trunk sprawled out in plain view. Instead of walking toward him, I headed for the chair. “Maybe Caleb’s behind the chair.” Giggles erupted from under the bed.
“No! Caleb’s not here. I wonder where he is.” More giggles. “Oh, I know. Caleb’s hiding in the closet.”
I glanced his way. He beamed from under the bed. He was so proud of his hiding place, and the fact that Auntie Jill couldn’t find him.
After checking every spot in the bedroom I could think of, I pounced on him. “Oh, there’s Caleb! Hiding under the bed!”
He pulled his head out from under the bed, his little 2-year-old face wreathed in smiles. I grabbed him and squeezed him, but he soon wriggled free. Toddling off, he began to “hide” again.
Sitting back, I pondered how often I had surrendered my all to Jesus, little realizing the greater part of my heart was still unconverted. Full of undiscovered sins sticking out into the room. And yet, Jesus had never scolded me. Not once. Not ever.
He’d never said, “There’s a whole mess of you lying out here in full view. Don’t you think you could realize that and grow up?” Instead, He’d shown me my heart, bit by bit. First, there was some jealousy stuck over here. Ouch! I hadn’t even realized it existed! Thankful, I asked Him to cleanse my heart, to grant me the spirit of contentment.
Next, He showed me the bitterness that lurked just beneath the surface. I dug for a while alone before I realized that it was spreading and that I was powerless to control it. In desperation I turned to Him for forgiveness and peace.
Later He showed me where pride had taken root and had already begun reseeding itself with amazing rapidity. In shame I turned to Him for cleansing, for grace, for victory.
How much of me was still sticking out from under the bed? Just my toes or feet? Or—please God, no—my entire torso? Shaking my head, I stood to begin once again.
One, two, three. “Oh, God, thank You for not condemning me when I was still a child.”
Four, five, six. “Thank You for showing me those places that are still sticking out from under the bed.”
Seven, eight, nine. “Caweb, here!” I smiled. The game was about to begin again.
Ten. Ready or not, here I come! After all, I am still His little daughter. Cherished and beloved. Growing—and, most important—still growing up.