“Where are you?”
As the evening breeze sent leaves cascading from the fig tree, Adam and Eve were still. They were silent. They knew. But what did they know?
I find it interesting that after sin entered the world, the first verbal response from God was a question.
Not a statement. Not an exclamation. A question.
Not only was it a question, it was a seemingly simple question. But it was not a simple question, and it required more than a simple answer.
We know Adam and Eve’s attempt to hide did not befuddle God. He knew exactly where they were. What He sought was their understanding of a greater reality that had taken place – one that extended beyond the surface taste of fruit.
He was asking them to consider a deeper reality.
Continually in the Scriptures, we are told God looks at the inside of a person, not the outside. What he sees as urgent (the heart), we see as secondary. What we see as urgent (the task or emotion), he sees as secondary.
We are invested in the outside and urgent while He is investing in the inside and gradual.
The problem with a question is that it bids us to slow down, consider, and respond. Questions are invitations to conversation. They open us to multiple perspectives, challenges, and things yet to be considered.
What God delineates, he exclaims. He is the Author, Sustainer and Completer of all. There is no invitation for others to participate. He has exclaimed much.
But when it comes to matters of the heart and understanding our true human condition, God does not relate to us as much in exclamations as in questions. Who do you say I am? Why do you call me good? Who told you you were naked?
I believe God asks questions because a question takes a step with someone else into a deeper space. A question is an act of love. God asks questions of us because we are not prone to wander into deeper spaces on our own. We like more shallow waters.
Like God, we have a voice. It’s part of being made in His image.
Social media has given us an amplifier for that voice. So what is being amplified? Do our voices ring more with questions or exclamations? Are we seeking to broaden our understanding and perspective or simply make ours more widely known?
We are an exceedingly voyeuristic culture, but there seems to be one area our curiosity has yet to lead us: deeper inside ourselves. Particularly, we have lost the intimacy of reflection, introspection and evaluation. These aren’t popular terms, but they’re godly terms.
Even more than that, they’re godly tools.
One of the reasons we don’t like reflection, introspection, and evaluation is that the deeper we dig into ourselves, the more we find pride, sin, selfishness and confusion about the world. The deeper we go, the more we discover God is right.
There is a reason Jesus spoke in parables and commended those who asked deeper questions of others and themselves. In fact, there is a reason Jesus mainly responded to surface-level questions with deeper questions: Jesus takes people deeper.
When God asks, “Where are you?” he is asking a greater question than “How are you feeling?” He’s asking about your soul.
The reason God asked a question of Adam is that He was calling him deeper – to an evaluation, understanding and conversation about his pride, his sin and his heart.
Adam made an exclamation in response. He was not willing to follow God deeper.
I often wonder how often I am more preoccupied with the selfish exclamations of my mouth than the godly questions of my heart. I don’t want to ask God why I am angry; I just want to be angry. I don’t want to ask God about deep and lasting love; I just want to feel deep and lasting love. I don’t want to ask another person about their perspective and reasoning; I just want to rapid-fire back at their words.
We’ve lost the ability to look deeper – into the heart. The problem is that’s where God is. And that’s where God is calling each of us.
Let me ask; are you willing to follow God there? Are you willing to ask the questions about yourself in light of the Gospel and face the answers God presents?
Are you willing to ask God to reveal your heart to you? Are you willing to listen if it involves turning down the noise of the world or taking the time to hear God speak through His Word?
Would you ask God about the dark corners of your heart even if it means he may use uncomfortable truths to bring them to light?
God loves you too much to pretend you were meant for shallow waters. God is looking at your heart and inviting you to that deeper place. Will you meet him there?
Where are you?