It’s a brisk autumn morning with frost on the lawn and the kids and touching it with tiny fingers and a sense of awe that somehow slips away as years slip past. I’m staring down the face of a question that’s been echoing in my mind for twenty-four hours now: Where are you?
This fall has been marked by big bumps along the usually smooth road of our lives – bumps that make us step back and appreciate the simple things of life, bumps that make us grateful to still be here together laughing and crying and kicking soccer balls across wide spans of green grass. This question – where are you? – doesn’t loom like an accusation. It simply invites me to step outside the momentum of my days and honestly assess what’s driving my life.
This question presented itself last week when I admitted that I was afraid – afraid of what the future might hold, afraid to take the next step toward a goal, and afraid that more than one of my dreams might be on the verge of collapse. It presented itself again yesterday morning, when a friend sent a text with this very question staring at me through the screen on my phone, and it arose two more times as I watched Christine Caine share a message online.
It’s the question God asked Adam in the Garden of Eden after the apple was eaten: “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)
God knows everything, and God knew where Adam was hiding. Is it possible that he asked this question so that Adam might step back and take a long, hard look at his situation, honestly assess it and give words to it?
Adam answers, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10). Adam answers honestly: Afraid, naked, and hiding.
The Lord responds by first cursing the serpent who deceived Adam and Eve. He then speaks difficult words for the two people who once walked in unbroken fellowship with him: He tells the woman that he will multiply her pain in bringing forth children and make her desire for a husband who will rule over her; he tells the man that the ground is now cursed because of his sin, and in sweat and toil he will eat from the ground, and it will be filled with thorns and thistles.
I read these words while Christine Caine preaches about following the Lord, and I give thanks for the price Jesus paid on the cross. The curse of Adam is that all die, but in Christ, all shall be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22). Jesus literally paid the price for sin by becoming the curse for us (Galatians 3:13). He reversed the ugly scene in the garden through the sacrifice of his life.
Because of Jesus, I have confidence that when the Lord asks, “Where are you?” I can answer without a fear of condemnation. There is no condemnation in Christ.
And so on this morning, frosted window panes soaking in the dawn’s first rays of golden sun, I admit to the Lord exactly where I am. I let the sun warm my face. I receive the truth that he loves me exactly where I am, and he promises to shine light on each step of the path in front of me (Psalm 119:105).
Some of us are afraid today. Some of us are naked and ashamed. Some of us are filled with regret, sorrow, grief, pain, and dismay. There is grace for all of these things. We are simply asked to come. We are called to draw near – just as we are – and trust that the one who began the work within our hearts will complete what he started (Philippians 1:6).
I close with a question today: Where are you?
It’s not a question about where you’re pretending to be. It’s a question for the silent moments of the day when you’re alone with your thoughts and you let yourself be honest about the circumstances of your life. Are you too tired to keep going at this pace? Are you hurting? Are you indifferent? Have you grown cold and hard?
Will you trust the Lord to meet you in that place? He already sees. He is present. It’s for your sake that he poses the question. Will you let him step in and work within?
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