If God asks ‘Where are you?’, what’s the answer

Published 8:48 am Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Without a doubt, one of the most difficult hurdles of the written medium is the lack of inflection, while verbal conversation enables us to hear not only the words spoken but the emotion those words are intending to convey.

Ink on a page leaves the reader to bear the responsibility of feeling. This has been highlighted with our need for brevity in our interactions, whether through e-mail, text message or the dozen or so instant messaging channels. It seems everyone is trying to avoid the pleasantries and cut to the chase.
Some of the greatest writers seem to have a way of wielding the English language with such precision, you find yourself experiencing the majestic view from atop a climbers summit.

The reality, though, is most of us struggle with which “there” (their, they’re) to use. So, a reader is left with the responsibility of deciphering what is really meant by what is being said. When the communication is personal, our most helpful tool in this process is our relationship to the author, what we know about their character and personality.

The Bible is no different, we read scripture through the lens or the bent we have because of what we believe we know about God.

The problem comes when our view of the author is clouded or askew. If we read the scripture with a tilt towards an angry God leaning over the clouds with a hammer of judgement and baited breath, waiting to ruin an otherwise good time, we will read and live with fear as our motivator.

One such example is Genesis 3:9, “Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” Adam in the text, has committed the original sin of disobedience, and God has come to address him. A profound question from all-knowing and all-seeing God: “Where are you?”

I’ve heard and read scholars and speakers alike try and explain why God would ask this question and there are many schools of thought — everything from God wanted Adam to think about where he was and why, to sin had broken the relationship and now God couldn’t identify Adam because he didn’t carry the same image.

While thought-provoking, I believe both are birthed out of a skewed view of God as Father. One supposes God only has His eye on the sinless and the other projects God as wanting to invoke shame. See, if we view God this way in scripture, we must assume He responds to us the same way, either far from us or shaming us in our sin.

I, however, believe God is good; that He is always good in His judgements and His mercy.

I believe that when God called out to Adam, it was because He cared where he was. He wanted Adam to know that He still wanted him.

I wonder how many hear God calling to them and fear He is wanting to shame or chastise them, when He wants them to know He’s near and has a solution. I wonder how many hide from God instead of calling back to Him in prayer, simply replying, “Here I am and I need help.”

I believe, because I believe that God is good, that to those lost, hiding, or who have been standing still in their walk with Him, God searches for you and with love asks today “Where are you?” Don’t hide, call out, respond, ask Him for help. He is good and He is love.

David Malcom is the pastor of Trinity Gospel Church. He can be contacted at davidmalcom75@gmail.com.