By Ken Boa
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” – Genesis 3:8-9 NIV
Everyone has experienced the cycle of sin and shame. It’s a dreadful place to be, a box canyon with three sides going straight up. We enter by way of sin, and wouldn’t dare to look for a way out since we don’t think we deserve it (and we don’t). And if we hear the sound of someone passing by, we can’t even call out for help. To do so would presume that the person wants to help us (adding presumption to our sins). We know no one could want to help one such as us (which is not true, but it is what we think). And so we hide in our canyon of shame.
There is only one way out of our shame, but we often can’t see it. The way out is to simply say what we have done—confess it to God—so that we may receive his forgiveness which is always available. And yet we are usually too ashamed to lift up our eyes, much less our voice, to him. So what does he do to get us to speak? He seeks us out. In our moment of need, when we are hiding from him, he comes looking for us—and he speaks first. Without our even knowing it, he changes our confession to a conversation.
God did this first with Adam and Eve. In the perfect Garden of Eden, the first couple sinned. Hearing God approaching in the garden, they ran and hide themselves among the trees. Did God see them? Yes. Did he know what they had done? Of course. Was he gently willing to allow them to tell him in their own words rather than accusing them directly and deepening their shame? That’s exactly what he did. By rhetorically calling out, “Where are you?” God drew Adam out from his hiding place. Seeing the patience of God, Adam released himself from shame by confessing his sin to God.
Is your identity today “Ashamed”? It need not be. Know that God is walking in your garden seeking a conversation that leads to confession, and freedom. If you lift your eyes, you will see him. If you lift your voice, he will hear you. He seeks you for only one reason: To find you and set you free.
God’s Promise to You: “When you hide, I see you and will seek you out.”