Could it be that the hiddenness of God is a necessary condition for the continual revelation of God? After all, if God were not hidden from us, we would have no need of revelation.
Perhaps this is why the sort of faith which seeks to deepen, rather than explain, the mystery of God is so often tied to a sacramental expression of faith. If the sacraments are the visible expression of the hidden nature of God, then they are only necessary, in fact only make sense, if God is indeed hidden from our full view and understanding. We would not need our mountain-top moments if God were already in plain sight.
But perhaps God is hidden in plain sight, already dwelling in the places where we search and say “God is not here”. We fail to see God in the tension of paradox because we are looking for God to be something clear and incontrovertible. We fail to see God in small acts of kindness, in small needs, because we are seeking the grand redemptive gesture. Where else do we pass by the hidden God?
There is something of this in the Eucharist: the revelation in the ordinary of God’s presence and extraordinary mystery. It is a mystery not to be solved, but to be savoured, explored, inhabited. If we want to walk with the living God we must learn to dwell in the mystery, paradox, messy edges and uncertainties in which the hidden God abides. We must have room in our faith for doubt.
Doubt will come, and when it does it can do one of two things. If our framework of faith has no place for doubt, it will draw us away from faith as we acknowledge its reality. But if our faith is used to dwelling in a place of uncertainty, doubt becomes just one more texture in the tapestry, woven in.
The hiddenness of God requires trust. Faith ought to require trust, or it is scarcely faith at all. And courage too. There is no faith involved in following a path when you can already see every inch of it, all the way to the end. Faith means trusting, even as we step into the dark, that the light will come to show us the way beneath our feet. It always has before.