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             "Ready?” The child leader asks around the park tree. "No PEEKING! Okay… start counting!”
          "One... two," another child begins, "three... four..."

Justin arrives late, long after the countdown. But he never misses a good game of hide-n-seek! So he looks for the other hiding players. 
"Pssst…hey,” Justin whispers to another little boy hiding in the bushes, "Who’s it?”
"The Them team!” Another boy answers.


"We’re playing teams! It’s Team Us against Team Them! The counter is their leader. But every one of Them is ‘It’ and can tag you.”
          "Well…how can I tell Them and Us apart?”
"By their smiles (Psalms 68:3).” The little boy explains. "Look at their faces, Justin. If they’re smiling, then they’re not one of Us. So hide from them. And remember… they can be pretty clever sometimes.”


"And I’m the leader of Us, anyone who’s not smiling (Matthew 23:15)(Matthew 23:13)! We’re usually around the traditional pathways (Colossians 2:8).”

"Thanks!” Justin waves discreetly to his visible teammates and takes his place.  

          Now Justin, a longtime hide-and-seek champion, picks a clever spot. He puts himself on a pedestal and climbs up a tree, right above the park’s merry-go-round. By positioning himself higher than everyone else (Ecclesiastes 7:16), Justin saw an advantage to win this game. Now settled on top, Justin watches Them, the other oblivious team of smiling children. They’re so close, yet so unaware! And Justin is so pleased with himself that he keeps reminding himself not to smile. He would hate for his loyal team to think, "Justin’s not really one of Us.”

          Still undetected, winning every hidden second, Justin’s stomach begins to growl (Matthew 6:16). And his hidden smile becomes truly hidden from him, as he continues to ‘look down’ on Them: the smiling others. However, Justin reasons that it’s lonely on top, and comes with the territory.  He also remembers the reputation for Them being clever and wonders if his inner feelings are actually a trick from Them. The suspicion keeps him "high up.” But "deep down” Justin questions the difference between feeling lost, and not being found.  

          Suddenly, a sound of shaking leaves in Justin’s tree begins.
          "Whoah…OUCH!”A little girl falls from an upper branch beside Justin, dusting herself off. "Are you playing hide-and-seek?”
          Justin stares at her to make sure she’s not smiling (Hebrews 13:2).
          "Uh huh!”  Justin replies.
          "Really? But the game is over!” The little girl informs, "It’s been over for awhile. Our LEADER won it for both Us and Them (I John 3:16)(I John 2:1)(Galatians 4:3-5)!”
          "This sounds like a trick,” Justin says in doubt. "How do I know you’re not one of Them, on the other team?”
          "Well… I would’ve tagged you already!”
          "Okay. Well maybe you’re one of Us, and you want my ‘high position’ all to yourself!”
          Unable to hold it in any longer, the little girl begins to smile.
          "AHA!” Justin says, dropping down one tree level, "you shoulda tagged me when you had the chance!” Justin slides further down, looking for the original tree to touch and be safe. But it has disappeared (Romans 10:4). Instead Justin sees the children, all of Them, smiling together with no game mentality (Psalms 118:15), no one to lead the counting (Titus 1:2), and no one running from Them (Galatians 5:15).  
          The little girl practically floats down to Justin (Matthew 4:11) and continues, "The reason all of Them are smiling is because there’s no reason for anyone to hide anymore! So come ride with me on the merry-go-round (I Thessalonians 5:9)!”
          "Ready or not,” A now smiling Justin takes her hand, "here I come!”
          "Wait-a-minute!” Justin stops.
          "You’re still skeptical?”
          "No,” Justin assures her, "I just wanna ‘spread the Good News’ to the rest of Us (II Timothy 2:10)(Mark 16:15). Some of my old teammates are still in hiding in this park!”
          "Okay! I’ll save you a seat (Hebrews 1:14).” The little girl replies.
          "Thanks,” Justin says while walking toward the traditional, grassy areas. "This is Justin [Just In]! Come out… Come Out …WHEREVER you are!”
          THE END


Written By: Jwyan C. Johnson                                                      READ ALL THE PARABLES! -  BUY ON AMAZON  

<Moral>: The game of hidden motives and running from one another is over! And the only player left is a "sore looser” who’d rather hide mankind from this knowledge.  Through God’s love, we’re "safe.” And through wisdom, we can see clearly who’s "It (I Peter 5:8)(Proverbs 28:15).” And through knowledge, we can flee from "It (II Corinthians 2:11).” Stay ‘high above’ the former game itself (Acts 7:48). God Bless.  

<Did you Realize?>: The disappearing original tree is a symbol of Jesus being our new "safe” place of refuge. Click here to see more.

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