Monday, February 19, 2018

Where is God?

Picture Book: Where are You Hiding, God?
Author & Illustrator: Elizabeth Zartl
Summary: The young child in this new book is determined to find God so she plays a game of Hide & Seek with God. She explores her bedroom. Is God hiding in her socks? She checks out her bathroom. Is God hanging out with her little rubber duck? God isn't found in the tub either. She wanders to the garden and is disappointed that God isn't among the flowers. She starts to get frustrated, "Why can't I find you, God?" Then a small leaf floats down and touches her.  
She recognizes God in the leaf... and in the wind! Now she declares with confidence that God is in the flowers after all. God is in the dragonflies too!
And at bath time, she makes an even more profound discovery. God is in even the smallest drop of water. When she returns to her room, she realizes her earlier mistake. God has been there all along, in her dresser and more importantly, in her image when she looks in the mirror because God is always inside her.
Hanna’s Comments: This beautiful book won a 2017 Spirituality and Practice Award. I received an advance copy, hence the missing mirror in the last photo. Published copies will have a foil mirror. Read this book with older children if you are trying to help them understand that God's presence is everywhere. If you have younger children who love to play Hide & See (What child doesn't!), this is a great book for them. Read the book, and then play an exploration game or ask them to go find God in an unusual place and report back to the group. While playing, be sure to emphasize the central message of the book: God is in every moment, every place, and inside us. Don't forget to talk with your kids about the emotions that this character is feeling and how those translate to our own lives when we feel God's presence. There is joy and comfort and especially companionship.
Original Publisher & Date: Westminster John Knox, 2017
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: My presence will go with you…(Exodus 33:14); Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? (Psalm 139:7); You will seek and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13); Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20b)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children in your faith family and explore the possibilities of God's presence everywhere, including inside us.