Sunday, March 18, 2012

Where Are You?

     Why do we sometimes want to hide from God?  Why do we run away?

     After Adam and Eve committed the first sin by disobeying God's command not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they tried to hide from God:
          Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked....When they   heard the sound of the Lord God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of day, the man and his wife hid themselves from God among the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:7-8).
     But it doesn't work.  God looks for them and calls out to them, "Where are you?" (Genesis 3:9).

     God always looks for us and calls to us.  Yes, we are sinners.  God already knows that.  We're the ones who have an issue with knowing about it.  When we sin (or become aware that we have sinned / are sinners) we want to run from God, hide from God.  Some people may do this out of fear of punishment.  Others may do it out of shame.  Shame is not necessarily a bad thing.  Shame makes us realize we did something that was wrong, something we wish we hadn't done.  Fear, also, can be useful.  If a tiger is chasing us, we need to be afraid so that we get the adrenaline to run.  Fear can help us survive.  But too much fear can cause paralysis.  Too much shame can cripple our sense of self-worth.

     So what has this got to do with God?  As I said, shame can tell us that we did something we shouldn't have done, something unworthy of a good person.  This is good.  But instead of hiding from God out of shame, we need to go to God because only God can restore us to our original dignity as His children.  But what about punishment?  Isn't this why we run?  We know we've done wrong and we know that there are consequences. So we try to hide it from God. But think about it for a moment.  GOD KNOWS.  No matter how hard we run.  No matter how hard we try to hide.  We are only fooling ourselves.  God already knows.  All of it.  Every detail and...God's reaction is to seek us and call to us.  Not to punish us, but to help us, to heal us, to restore what has been lost.

     But that's not what happened to Adam and Eve, you say.

     Isn't it?  God didn't punish Adam and Eve; God simply told them the consequences of their actions.  God didn't say, "Get out of my sight!  I can't stand to look at you sinners!"  He told them they would die and they would have to leave the garden.  Well, of course.  Because they now knew about evil as well as good, they were no longer the same people they had been when they knew only God's goodness and love.  They suffered a death, a loss of their innocent worldview.  And they had to leave the garden.  They now knew about evil.  Life could no longer be a paradise.  Do you see why God didn't want them to eat that fruit?  This was just what He was trying to prevent.  But God had given Adam and Eve free will and He gives us free will.  We have a choice of listening to His loving guidance or rejecting it.  And that choice has consequences.

   Notice that Adam and Eve had to leave the garden, but God didn't leave them.  Read further in Genesis, then Exodus...and the Prophets, and so on.  God never abandons us even though He knows we are sinners.  Actually I think God never abandons because He knows we are sinners.  He knows we are weak and foolish.  We need His wisdom, His healing and His forgiveness.  Most of all, God never abandons us because God loves us, wholly, as we are.  He keeps trying to help us and heal us.  If only we would let Him.

Do you ever feel like hiding from God?  Why?  

Have you ever run to God with your sins?  What happened?


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