When I was a kid, I had a bloodhound nose for hunting Easter Eggs. It’s like I could smell the vinegar in the egg dye. I’d make my parents hide them for weeks leading up to Easter and as far beyond as I could milk it. I loved hiding the eggs too, seeing if I could outsmart the grown-ups.
As an egg-hunting purist I insisted on using hard-boiled eggs I’d colored myself, though the plastic ones would do in a pinch. Weather never stopped me. Even on rainy, spring days, we’d hide eggs inside.
On one of those days, I got carried away and hid an egg a little too well. We found it sometime around the Fourth of July. At that point even an amateur could have sniffed it out. If I close my eyes, I think I can still smell it.
My wife’s sadistic family didn’t just hide eggs. They hid her Easter basket too. I’d never heard of that one. She claims it was fun to look for it, but I suspect she’ll end up counseling.
No one should hide chocolate. It’s just wrong.
I guess Easter, though, has always been about hiding things.
After Jesus was dead and buried, his friends hid in a locked room, afraid the same thing would happen to them. The hope they’d once had lay hidden in a hillside tomb. And where was God when their dreams fell apart? He seemed to be hiding too.
God’s good at that sometimes.
I spent one Easter three years ago waiting to see if I had a brain tumor. Something weird had come back on a routine test, and my doctor just wanted to make sure it was nothing. I asked him what he was looking for, and he said, “Oh you know, it could be a tumor.” Excuse me? When did that option pop up on the menu?
Like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the film Kindergarten Cop I kept telling myself, “It’s not a too-mah.” Still, anxiety has a funny way of creeping in because we all know life comes with few guarantees. I had a two year old daughter at the time and a second one on the way.
I felt like Jesus’ friends in the locked room. I was stuck. All I could do was wait.
God seemed to be doing His Easter egg bit – hiding, silent.
If Easter teaches me nothing else, though, it’s that the times when God seems the most distant, He may be about to do something huge. His silence causes me to look for Him, to hunt for Him more furiously than any egg. Sometimes, though, I stumble onto Him when I least expect it.
I had to teach several hundred families that Easter at a special event at my church. I must have gone over the resurrection story dozens of times preparing to speak, and the more time I read it, the more a persistent thought began to stab at my fear.
You follow a guy who walked out of a tomb. Why are you worried? Empty graves trump test results every time.
I’d found my Easter egg. God had been so close to me, it had made Him hard to see.
This Easter, I’m sure I’ll hide my fair share of eggs. My daughters have inherited my blood-hound nose. Every time we play this game of hide and seek, I’m going to remember the hidden God who loves to be found and the sheer joy of the hope of Easter.