On a sunny Sunday afternoon, we took a short hike up Billy Goat Hill in San Francisco. The air was crisp. The sun was warm, the shade was chilly. My ideal weather, really. We’re closing in on our goal of reaching every high point in the city. My word for the year is ‘celebrate’ and I feel in the fullness of that word, the Spirit encouraged me to pray over San Francisco and for our family as a witness to the light and love of Jesus Christ. As we arrived at Billy Goat Hill, we held hands, and as we’ve done atop various other high points (Russian Hill, Corona Heights, Bernal Heights, Mount Davidson – just to name a few of the 50 or so), we prayed for the people of San Francisco and for our family.
Jack immediately begs to play hide and seek – one of his favorite games to play with Shawn. As Shawn counts to ten…v-e-r-y slowly…Jack runs behind the low lying branch of a magnificent Manzanita tree. Shawn opens his eyes, looks around, and pretends he can’t find Jack anywhere, although he is in plain sight. He turns the other way, walks around the tree, saying ‘where is Jack? I can’t find him anywhere!’ Before Shawn can ‘find’ him, Jack jumps out unable to stand the suspense.
There is a reason hide and seek is almost 20 centuries old. Hiding is our natural inclination, but we were made to be found. I think Jack likes to play because he wants Shawn to find him.
A few minutes later, Jack still playing in the tree, says ‘we never die’ and ‘we get our own trees.’
As soon as he said those words, I couldn’t help but think of the garden – of the idea of what life was meant to be…communing with God and nature; never dying. All of our needs being supplied because He provides – shelter, a place to play – everything we need and most of what we want.
There is a gorgeous innocence within childhood dreams – Jack had the idea in his heart of how it was meant to be from the beginning – but the paradox came in his eagerness to play hide and seek. Our sinful nature seeps through- covering up (hiding) what we know to be wrong. But even when we hide, we so desperately want to be found. We were made to be found by God who constantly seeks us. The good news is that in Christ, we have the freedom to be out in the open – to really know and be known and to be seen for who we are. The time at Billy Goat Hill was a physical manifestation of the state of our hearts.
What was your favorite childhood game? How does that represent how you relate to God and others? What have you been hiding that would hinder your being fully known? In the week ahead, look for your own Billy Goat Hill moment.
About the Author
I’m a part-time working mom of two in my mid-thirties learning to be like Jesus in the big and small dailies in San Francisco. I have a degree in English (Auburn University) and a Masters of Divinity (Golden Gate Seminary). I’m from the South, but not of the South. I’ve traveled to France, Ukraine, and China and, on a regular basis, come in contact with all of those nationalities plus a half a dozen more at the playground seven blocks from the flat we call home. I live in the grace and love of Jesus and live out, as best I know how, that grace and love to others. I beg for God’s kingdom come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven – in my corner of the great city of San Francisco, as well as in all the other amazingly beautiful corners of the world – including yours, wherever that may be!