Welcome to a series of the first 10 questions God asks. The first words out of God’s mouth are not judgment but a question, and His final words are an invitation – “Come” (Revelation 22:17).
Explore the questions….. Think about your journey.
God opens His portfolio of probing questions with three innocuous sounding words, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9).
Here’s a quick version of the background story: Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden tree, felt shame and fear, and sewed a pathetic suit of fig leaves to cover their disobedience. God comes looking for them. (See Genesis 3 for the full story).
How ironic is this: Here is the LORD God, the one who spoke the light into being, flung the stars into space and named each one, created man and woman – and He’s reduced to a child’s game of hide-n-seek. Is He really scratching His head, peeking around trees and vines, calling “Where are you?’ trying to find them? Was there ever any doubt that He knew where they were? The LORD God is so patient in the opening scene of this tragedy.
He could have accused Adam and Eve of their disobedience. But He doesn’t; He questions them. He could have laughed and abandoned them. But He doesn’t; He comes quietly and asks, “Where are you?” That is our gentle LORD God.
God is aware of where we are. He knows our thoughts, longings, and fears. King David acknowledged this. “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar” (Psalm 139:1,2).
Why, then, does God bother to ask the question?
Did the LORD need a GPS or did He ask where they were because He wanted Adam and Eve to discover for themselves where they were?
Has God ever asked you the same question? “Where are you?” Do you ever feel a little nudge in your soul? Sometimes we need that whisper, “Where are you?” to open our eyes, and to help us discern where we are on the journey.
How do we answer God’s call: “Where are you?”
There will be a different answer with every created soul on earth. Some may answer that they are quite happy where they are. Others might respond by saying that they are confused, betrayed, tired, or afraid.
Would you ever consider the following answer to God’s primary question?:
Following is an amazing true story about a young WWII airman who crashed, and was lost at sea for 47 days. (“Unbroken” is his true story written by Laura Hillenbrand in 2010 and also the title of the film directed by Angelina Jolie in 2014).
Olympic Athelete Louis Zamperini was a pilot with the American Airforce in WWII. While on a rescue mission in May of 1943, his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean 800 miles south of Hawaii, killing 8 of the crew while he, the pilot, and the tailgunner survived. For 47 days they drifted on a life-raft, baking under the scorching sun by day and shivering through the cold nights. They suffered extreme thirst and starvation, and lived with the ever-present fear of the sharks beneath their raft. There was no doubt in Louis’ mind that they were lost, but also no doubt that they would be rescued. They were. By the enemy.
He was taken to Execution Island and weighed in at a skeletal 65 pounds. He was transferred to various prisoner of war camps and while there he was constantly taunted by their enemy submarine pilots, and tortured by Mutsuhiro Watanabe, but he survived until the war was over and Japan surrendered.
Louis began his new life at home and married, but the enemy still held him captive through nightmares. He turned to drinking to erase the memories and to find sleep. Their marriage spiraled downhill and his wife asked for a divorce, but some Christian friends convinced her to attend an evangelistic service. She realized that she was lost just as much as her husband and she asked for the Lord to rescue her. She withdrew her request for a divorce and began praying for her husband Louis.
When she invited him to the services he hesitated but finally relented and joined her because he wanted to save his marriage. He heard the message that Jesus was the Son of God, and died for our sin as our Saviour. In his mind he agreed with this, but not in his heart. He knew it was the right thing to do but it seemed too costly to bow the knee. “But I still didn’t want to do it,” says Louis in a CBN Interview.
Louis continues, “And I think the best description of that is, that men prefer darkness rather than light. And here I was preferring my rotten life to the light. And then I started having a flashback to the life raft and prison camp. All those thousands and thousands of prayers, ‘God spare my life from the war and I’ll seek you and serve you,’ and I kept thinking I came back from the war alive and I never even thought about those prayers.”
Though it was hard to admit, Louis knew that if he didn’t give God his heart that night, he would return to drunkenness and despair. He got down on his knees and admitted his deep need for Christ.
“I got up from my knees. Somehow I knew I was through getting drunk. I knew it. I also knew I forgave all my guards including The Bird. I knew it. I think proof of that is I had nightmares every night about the Bird through the war and after the war . . . . I haven’t had a nightmare since, from 1949 until now.”
Louis travelled back to Japan in 1950 to forgive the prison guards who had tortured him.
“I believe it with all my heart that all things work together for good to those that love the Lord,” said Louis, ‘for those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). “Christ told us in the scriptures, I am the way, I am the truth and I am the life. He that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out’ (John 14:6). “Christ is the way to God.”
Once Louis admitted he was lost, and bowed his heart to Christ, God shone the light into his darkness and rescued him.
Not everyone recognizes that they are lost like Louis. When life is going well, and we have a good job, a nice house, a caring family, it is easy to think that we are not lost and we do not need rescuing, but that line of thinking is deceptive. Sin blinds us to our deep need of a Saviour.
The worst kind of trap is the kind that you don’t realize you are in.
Is God asking you the same question, “Where are you?” He asks, not because He intends to punish us—that’s finished—Jesus took the punishment. He is waiting for us to step into the light so that He can wrap us with mercy, love, and friendship.
Step out into the light and God will wrap you in forgiveness and grace.
1 Peter 2:9 says, “. . . declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”
Take a moment to listen to this song by Tim Hughes:
Tim Hughes’ “Light of the World” as sung by Mark Petitt
Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness
opened my eyes, let me see.
Beauty that made this heart adore you
hope of a life spent with you.
Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down,
here I am to say that you’re my God.
You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy,
altogether wonderful to me.
King of all days oh so highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above
Humbly you came to the earth you created
All for love’s sake became poor
I’ll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross
Next week, Question #2. See you then!