Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Where Are You? #3

Questions are a part of life. Many of us would like to ask God questions so we could make sense out of life, but not many of us stop to consider the questions God asks us. While we ask questions to gain information, I believe God asks questions to get us to think about life.

The first question God asks is to our first parents, Adam and Eve. They have sinned by eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and now they understand that they have done evil. Guilt and shame appear in their hearts for the very first time, and so they attempt to hide from God. They don’t want to face Him after they had knowingly sinned and broken their relationship with God.

God calls to them: Where are you? Remember, God knows what has happened and He knows where they are. There is no place they could run from God to get away from God’s presence. Yet God asks the question: Where are you? Why does God ask the question? I think God asks the question because He wants Adam and Eve to realize two important truths.

  • First, their relationship will never be the same. The sin that Adam and Eve allowed into the world had corrupted God’s creation and the humanity. Being unholy Adam and Eve, or their descendants, wouldn’t be able to have an intimate relationship with God any longer. Things had become different. The evidence of this reality is seen in their desire to hide from God. Never before did they have such a desire.
  • Second,God wanted them to know they were still loved. Sure they had chosen disobedience and to side with Satan, but God still loved them. In fact God pursued them. They hid and God came looking for them. Life was still worth living because God had not given up on them.

So how does this question apply to us today? Each one of us has sin in our lives. There is the habitual sin that we can’t seem to shake and there are the little sins that occur every once in a while, like when we are tired or grouchy. Temptation seizes us and for whatever reason we can’t say no. The result is that guilt invades our lives and we end up wanting nothing to do with God. We ignore Him and we hide. Since we don’t deal with our sin we are unable mature in faith like we should and God comes to us and asks: Where are you?

How do we hide? Some of us hide through religion. I remember reading once (I wish I could remember where or who wrote it) but the author recalls being on a plane and the man in the seat in front of him takes out a Playboy magazine from his brief case and looks at it. A short while later he puts the magazine back in his brief case and takes out his Bible and reads. I think this is an illustration of what many of us do to hide. We have our pet sins and then we go through the motions of religion, but never take the time to really connect with God through personal prayer, meditation, and worship. Religion is where we hide.

Other people hide in more sin. They try to numb their conscience with alcohol, drugs, casual sex, pornography, and other vile things. Not only do they get involved with these activities, but they also seek out the same type of people who are on the same pursuit of hiding from God. These people end up validate each other as they tell each other that what they are doing is okay. All the while they become more and more depraved. Sinful lifestyle becomes the fig leaf we try to hide behind.

Some people, particularly people who are atheists or who are without religion, throw themselves into charity. By helping other people they try to alleviate their consciences of the bad things that they have done. They will tell us that they are good people. Sure they have done some bad things, but who hasn’t, and at least they aren’t Hitler or Charles Manson. Good works are the bushes we duck behind.

Sometimes we will throw ourselves into our jobs. We have deadlines to meet and clients to help and promotions to pursue. Our time and energy are devoted to our jobs and we don’t allow ourselves the time to quietly reflect on our lives or what God wants for us. We ignore God as much as we can because we don’t want to face the reality of our lives. Jobs provide a hiding place for us so we don’t have to think about God.

Family and relationships are another hiding place for us. This one is so easy to fall into because it is the second part of the great commandment, loving people. We aren’t being bad people and we are being helpful to others, plus we take the time necessary to be part of the lives of other people. By giving our lives to others we miss out on giving them to the One who wants them most: God. Relationships provide us with cover to hide from God.

I believe, no matter where we try to hide, each of us is still haunted by the question: Where are you? It maybe worded differently, but the essence of the question is still the same. The question calls us to examine our lives in relationship to God. Perhaps your question sounds like: Isn’t there more to life? or Is there life after death? Whatever your question is the reality is that God is pursuing you through the great questions of life.

This is what I want you to remember this series of ponderings: God is pursuing us. The question Where are you? reminds us that God wants to be a part of our lives, even though we are doing our best to hide from Him.

When God comes seeking you He wants you to examine your life. Think about these questions: Why are you hiding? How are you hiding? Do you know God loves you? God came looking for Adam and Eve because He loved them and wanted them to be part of His family. God looks for us for the same reason. We don’t have to hide! God wants us to be part of His family!

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