January 29, 2022
Genesis 3:8-9 NIV
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
The Word of God is filled with stories, statements, commands, exclamations, declarations, even declamations, and yet it is also laden with questions. I am not talking about our questions concerning God or God’s Word. I am talking about God’s questions to people; and by extension to us. It is worth a series all to itself. God asks questions.
One of the most piercing questions God asks in the Bible is the very first question God asks. We see it in today’s text. The question comes after Adam and Eve turned away from the command of God to eat from every tree in the Garden save one. In the wake of their rebellion, they tried to hide from God. Then God asks this question.
“Where are you?”
The whole notion of God asking a question raises an even larger question, doesn’t it? God is omniscient. God knows everything, which implies the answer to any and every question. The notion that God even has a question is a towering absurdity—unless God is not asking the question for his own sake. What if God asks us questions for our sake? What if God asks us precisely the kinds of questions we wouldn’t tend to ask of ourselves? Questions like. . .
“Where are you?”
It’s interesting how Adam responds to the question with some information but not an answer. It is not an easy question to answer. I think I know the answer until I try to answer it. So where am I?
There’s a greeting practiced in Sub-Saharan Africa where upon meeting one person will say, “Sawa bona,” which means, “I see you.” The other will respond by saying, “Sik hona,” which means, “I am here.” When God says, “Where are you,” it’s not because he doesn’t know. It’s like he wants us to know that he knows. It’s as though God were saying, “I see you. Even though you feel lost and alone. Even though you may be trying to hide. Even though you may not even be able to tell me exactly where you are, I want you to know, ‘I see you.'” I believe he’s looking for a response something like, “I am here,” and to say that in as much detail as we can muster. It’s not that we are telling God something God doesn’t know as we are coming home to ourselves in God’s presence. It’s why in our Banding work, the first question we ask is, “How is it with your soul?” It’s what we call the “locating” question.
So where are you? Remember, it’s not where should you be or where do you wish you were. It’s, “Where are you?” I’ll go first.
I am here. I’m in Franklin, Tennessee, in a rental house in a non-descript neighborhood, on the recovering side of a painful and tragic family collapse. I live with two teenagers who have forgotten more about life and the world than I will ever know. ;0) I am a bit lost and walking through what I believe to be the outskirts of what has been a long wilderness season. I am alone, honestly lonely, and yet filled with faith, hope and love. I am following Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah—Lord of Heaven and Earth, with no back-up plan, bail out scenario and nowhere else to go. I am searching for Church and coming up short in finding her. I am seeking the Kingdom with more success. I am in a flourishing and yet life-support dependence on the Word of God and the Spirit of God. I am in the process of trading in the search for the happiness this world has to offer in exchange for the quest after the inextinguishable joy of the Lord—come what may. I am strangely content, yet in need, and yet want for nothing. I have traded in wants in exchange for the deeper longings. It is well with my soul.
O.K., your turn.
“Where are you?”
Yes, Lord, thank you for the questions you ask in your Word, when you know the answer all along. Thank you for this question, “Where are you?” Thank you for the way you help me to be honest, vulnerable and transparent before you and others, bringing me home to myself. Thank you for seeing me and loving me and being so patient with me. Teach me how to be this way in relationship with myself and with others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
O.K., Where are you? ;0)
For the Awakening,