Question #1 – Where Are You?
But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)
Initially, that may sound like a weird question. Um, God – I’m right here. You know all things so you already know that answer. Next question, please.
Yes, He knows all things. But God’s questions are not for His benefit. They are for ours. He confronts us to prompt some intense introspection to find honest answers.
In Genesis 3, we find the story about Adam and Eve sinning by eating the forbidden fruit. After disobeying God’s command, they realized they were naked and subsequently hid from Him in shame.
See, God used to come down in the cool of the evening to hang out and chat with them. But that specific day was very different. There was no way they could talk with God in their condition! However, that level of vulnerability and transparency is precisely what God wants from us. He wants honest, unguarded interaction. Yet, we often hide behind flimsy fig leaves of shame, guilt, self-sufficiency, or pride.
When God visited that evening and noticed their absence, He asked, Where are you? Timidly, they responded from their hiding place. They explained their need for modesty because they discovered something new that day. Um, God, you’re really not gonna believe this, but we’re naked!
God then asked, Who said you were naked? With this question, He exposed their deception. He knew they were hiding because of their disobedience and the resulting guilt and shame. In essence, He asked them, What’s going on and to whom have you been listening? Last we talked, we were fine. He poses that same question to us today. Where are you? Why are you avoiding Me? To whom have you been listening instead of Me?
Why and Where We Hide From God
As we consider the question, we face not only the answer to why we hide from God but also where we hide. Sometimes, just as Adam and Eve did, we hide in fear, shame, and guilt. We think we are no longer acceptable to God. Our inner deceptive voices tell us we are inadequate, insignificant, and unworthy of God because of past failures and mistakes. Additionally, we have the same enemy that slithered around in the Garden of Eden. As the father of lies and false accuser, he bullies us into hiding with his whispered venom.
But God is omnipresent – everywhere simultaneously. He is there with you in whatever hiding place you’ve chosen. Yes, He knows right where you are. But He still asks, Where are you? so you can stop running and hiding long enough to contemplate the answer.
The reality is, He knows exactly why you went into your self-imposed hiding place. He already knows your secret shame and fear. As omniscient God, He already hears the lying voices in your mind and knows the justifications behind which you are hiding (blaming others, addiction, poor parenting, lack of affirmation, abandonment, abusive environment, etc.)
But God does not want you hiding in fear. He is not a cosmic cop waiting to find you so He can lightning-bolt you upside your head. He loves you! He wants to reconcile the relationship between you so He can restore you to Himself. The devil wants you hiding in fear and shame, not God. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind [Timothy 1:7]. God wants to give you the power to live victoriously, the love to follow Him willingly, and the soundness of mind to make better choices in the future.
What is Your Answer?
As you think about your life and ponder the answer to this question, picture God with His arms outstretched toward you like He is welcoming a long-lost friend. In addition to, Where are you? you might also ask yourself, What is keeping me here and when am I going to come out of the shadows to stand honestly before God in the light of His loving acceptance, forgiveness, grace, and mercy?
It is my hope and prayer that you will stop hiding and reconcile yourself to God today. Besides, those fig leaves don’t look good on you!