They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
“Where are you?” Notably, this is the first question in the Bible, and the first words God speaks to a fallen humanity. This also marks the beginning of humanity’s salvation and rescue from sin and death. It begins with God asking Adam a question: “Where are you?”
God never asks a question for its own sake. He never asks for lack of information. When God asks Adam, “Where are you?” it isn’t that He can’t find Adam hiding behind some tree or rock. Rather, when God asks Adam his whereabouts it is because Adam needs to answer the question for himself. Adam needs to face where he is, and to acknowledge what has gone so wrong that he hides from God in shame.
Throughout my years of ministry I have often asked people, “Where are you?” What has happened? What are you going through? I ask that because I know from my own experience how easy it is to lose ourselves through distraction, busyness, numbness, and denial. We can go through life on autopilot so that we do not know what we are feeling, thinking, or desiring. We need the wakeup question: “Where are you?”
So I wonder about you today. Where are you? Where are you in your relationship with God? Where are you in your relationship with others? Where are you in your career, in your dreams, your personal growth?
For me to honestly answer, “Where are you?” often requires turning off the TV, putting down my smartphone, and other numbing activities. It means following the psalmist’s injunction, “Be still” (Psalm 46:10); it means following Jesus’ habit of withdrawing for a while from noise and distraction (Matthew 14:13, 23; Mark 1:35; Luke 4:42; 5:16). I find that answering the question about where I am in life requires frequent ‘Sabbath Rest’.
I am reminded of the words of mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” (Blaise Pascal, Pensées) We all need some time alone to sit quietly and answer life’s urgent question, “Where are you?” Socrates was surely right in saying, “The unexamined life is not worth living” (Plato, Apology) Both ancient wisdom and Scripture prescribe that we frequently take stock and answer, “Where are I?”
A wise friend has encouraged me to ask not only “Where are you?” but also to ask, “Where have you been?” and “Where do you want to go?”
I think that making time to reflect on these three questions is helpful, not only for individuals but for churches, businesses, and organizations.
But just for today, let’s start with you! “Where have you been? “Where are you now?” “Where do you want to go?” You will likely be surprised what you come up with and what you learn about you! They are important things to think about as we travel along!
A fellow traveler,