There has been a single verse of scripture floating around in my mind for a few days now. It comes from a story in the book of Genesis. Adam and Eve have disobeyed God and, in their shame, they decide that if they hide they might just get away with it! The verse that follows this says;
But the Lord God called to the man, “where are you?” (Genesis 3 vs. 9)
I am sure this is a question that many of us have asked of God. Sometimes, we ask it in our fear. Sometimes we ask it in anger at the state of the world. Sometimes we ask it because we cannot work out what God is up to in our situation.
“Where are you in the face of this pandemic?”
“Where are you in the face of this diagnosis?”
“Where are you as I face loneliness?”
In the Genesis verse, God turns the tables. Humanity is not asking the question of God, instead God is asking the question of humanity!
As I pondered these words, the first thing that occurred to me was that it is a strange question for God to ask. After all, God knew the answer. This is not a question of location. God is not seeking the whereabouts of humanity, like a set of lost keys.
He knew what humans had done. He knew that they had broken the rule of not eating the fruit from that particular tree. He knew they were hiding from Him and, as He walked in that particular part of the garden, he must have known where they were hiding. The scene that then follows is less than edifying. The man blames the woman. The woman blames the serpent. The serpent hasn’t got a leg to stand on!
So, does God ask the question in order to humiliate and shame humans into confessing their guilt?
I don’t think so.
As I have pondered the question, I see this as the universal, continual question raised by God to all humanity for all time “where are you?”
This is not a question of accusation, but it is a question of relation.
This is a question asked by the God who loves humanity, cares for humanity and is genuinely concerned for us.
As I heard the question, I took some time to journal; to pray; to share with God and, I discovered, as I answered God already knew. Most importantly, God really cared.
Listen very carefully, I think God may be calling out to you – “where are you?”