One of my goals for this year is to find a compelling explanation for the hiddenness of God. Particularly, I want to know why he’s more hidden now than he was at a couple of different times in the past. Here’s a bibliography I found that may contain a clarifying book or two. Meantime, here’s a bit from the epilogue of MacDowell’s Evidence that came up unexpectedly.
Though many people from all different philosophical and religious backgrounds like to talk about experiences they have had with “God,” one of the truths revealed to the prophet Isaiah is that God really is not out to win any popularity contests. Though his desire, as stated in 2 Peter 3:9, is that he is passionately “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance,” at the same time, he’s not out trying to reveal himself to everyone who comes along. As Isaiah records, “Truly You are a God, who hide yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior!” (Isa. 45:15). Isn’t that odd? Can you imagine God in hiding? Why would he do that? The answer is: he’s waiting. He’s waiting for those times in the lives of all people when they will be humble enough in their hearts to hear his voice and respond by opening the door of their lives to allow a personal relationship with him to begin. As Jesus says in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Three times in the Bible it is explicitly stated (and many more times intimated) that God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Prov. 3:34; James 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5).
tl;dr- God hides himself so that he will only be found by those proactively searching for him. I’d characterize this as an appeal to the demographics of nonbelief.
This proposition is at least untrue for some, like the apostle Paul, who were definitely NOT seeking God out but were chosen and acquired by him with all the subtlety of a ball peen hammer. However, it is still plausible as a partial explanation because Paul could be an exception that highlights the rule.