My parents didn’t have much money, so when Dad gave me a small pocketknife, I treasured it. The gift came with one caveat though. Because I was only eight years old, I couldn’t use it—I could only carry it in my pocket!

You might guess how that went. Soon I found a place to hide and opened the knife to admire the edge. It wasn’t long before I began to whittle sticks with it. One day the blade slipped and cut my finger. Now I had to hide the wound from my parents! It wasn’t long until my mother noticed and quickly guessed the cause of the cut. At first, I engaged in hardline denial. But after what seemed like weeks of “interrogation” (actually only a few minutes), I admitted my crime. Dad took the knife and forgave me. Eventually, he gave it back—much later.

When we do something we know is wrong, our instinct is to hide. That’s what Adam and Eve did when they did the one thing that God told them not to do. God came looking for them, but His motive wasn’t to destroy them in anger. Instead He asked, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)—not because He didn’t know, but because He knew Adam and Eve had to confront what they had done.

Both the man and the woman engaged in blame-shifting (Genesis 3:12-13), neither of them owning up to their disobedience. Still, God provided for them and made a way forward. He never stopped loving them.

In my case, my dad felt more sadness than anger over my disobedience. That’s a small picture of God. We’re ashamed of our failures and sin, and so we hide from Him. Yet He already knows us intimately, and He always comes looking for us. That’s the kind of God we serve. He offers us a place to belong—one with other forgiven sinners. Today, will we hide or step inside?

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Esther 1:1-22