The Second Question God asks is a little uncomfortable:
“Who told you that you were naked?”
Ever had one of those dreams where you are in a meeting and you suddenly realize you are naked? You’re in slow-motion and you can’t find your clothes or the doorway?
I wonder if that’s how Adam and Eve felt when they heard God’s footsteps padding quietly through the garden, around the streams, between the rows of trees, bending to smell the flowers. All the while they are hurriedly sewing themselves an outfit. It’s hardly a three-piece power suit, but they figure the big leaves will do for now since He is just around the corner. I wonder what Eve might’ve said when Adam told her the pants were too short and what Adam might’ve said when Eve asked the age old question: “Does it make me look fat?” Adam gets out of that slippery situation because God shows up and instead of commenting on their fashion choice, He asks another question: “Who told you that you were naked?” (Genesis 3:11).
They probably didn’t need anybody telling them that they were naked. In fact, they may have let each other know that there was. . . er . . . a problem.
“But they were naked all along,” you say. “Why do they suddenly realize it now?” In their naked state before, they were clothed in perfection, honesty, and innocence. Now they are suddenly aware of the greed, lust, and pride of their hearts. To be naked is to be exposed—to need cover.
The Great Accuser, Satan, may have also pointed out their nakedness. Satan specializes in dredging up our imperfections, whether physical, mental, or spiritual; he makes us feel unworthy and guilty. Rather than offering a solution, he leaves us in our guilt until we grab some flimsy lie of a fig leaf to cover ourselves and then delights to see us hide. God cursed Satan right after Adam and Eve confessed. He was still there, in the background, gloating, laughing at their shame. But we have victory over the accuser. Revelation 12:10 says: “For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.”
God doesn’t leave us in our shame like Satan does.
He set out to search, find, and rescue Adam and Eve. He killed an animal in the garden and made appropriate coverings for them (Genesis 3:21). Death had to occur for Adam and Eve’s sin to be covered. Likewise, Jesus the Lamb of God had to die in order to cover us in His goodness.
Rather than sneaking off into the shadows and laughing at us, God died for us in broad daylight at a busy intersection (Colossians 2:15). He had planned to forgive us, even before we sinned. It says in Ephesians 1:4 “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight”.
Now our part is to exchange our insufficient “good-deeds” for a robe of His pure righteousness. He wraps us in it so that we are fit to stand before the LORD of heaven and earth. “He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10 The Message).
Here is a true story of a child who was covering a secret. What a relief when he finally shared it and found God’s loving embrace.
The staff of the Gospel for Asia Bridge of Hope centre watched Ayaan blossom. He attended the Bridge of Hope centre faithfully and punctually. His behavior toward other students and his excellence in his studies often earned him applause and appreciation. And as Ayaan experienced Christ’s love, he developed the confidence to ask for the Lord’s grace, praying to Jesus before he studied, ate a meal, went to school or took a test.
But a shadow of sorrow hovered over Ayaan’s life.
His parents both suffered from physical impairments. His mother struggled with a speech impediment, and his father had a lame leg. Then, only about a year after Ayaan joined Bridge of Hope, the young boy himself became afflicted with a physical hardship. But he kept it as a painful secret.
Ayaan didn’t tell the Bridge of Hope staff about his own problem, even though the project coordinator, Vidyadhar, and one of the social workers regularly visited Ayaan’s home to build positive relationships, pray for, and support the family.
Then one day, Ayaan’s mother asked the Bridge of Hope staff if Ayaan could have two days off from Bridge of Hope so he could go for a medical check-up. Her son, she told them, had been suffering from kidney stones for three years.
As she spoke with Vidyadhar, she broke down, weeping bitterly. Vidyadhar encouraged her and prayed for Ayaan’s healing.
Not only did Vidyadhar pray, but he also shared the request with all the other children at the Bridge of Hope centre, and they prayed together for Ayaan’s healing.
That same day, Ayaan underwent several different tests, and the doctors discovered that his kidney stones were gone! The doctors said Ayaan had passed them already, much to Ayaan’s and and his mother’s surprise.
The boy knew Jesus had healed him.
The next day, Ayaan went to the Bridge of Hope centre to thank Vidyadhar and all the children for praying for him. Hearing the exciting news, everyone praised God.
This answer to prayer helped Ayaan and his parents experience Jesus’ power and goodness. With a new joy and without the hindrance of kidney stones, Ayaan continued excelling in his studies at the Bridge of Hope centre. Ayaan’s parents are beginning to believe in Jesus, and they support their son’s involvement in Bridge of Hope.
Ayaan is grateful to everyone who has played a part in helping him to thrive at Bridge of Hope. Meanwhile, he continues to pray for his parents.
(See Gospel For Asia (gfa.ca) for more on this story and other true stories of how God is bringing life to communities where the Enemy has cast a shadow of death for so many centuries.)
Are you covering a secret? Do you ever feel overwhelmed with fear? Or shame? Do you desire to be set free from it’s grip on your life?
We might be like this little child, Ayaan, and we fear exposing our need for some reason. But once we step into God’s loving embrace, what joy and release we feel!
…..So let’s peel off those pathetic leaves, shall we?
Yes, we will have to get naked.
But God can see right through our leaf coverings anyways.
Let’s drop the lies,
shed the excuses,
unzip the good deeds, the proud pilgrimages
and toss them all to be burned.
They’re filthy rags—useless and tattered
Let’s step out into the light,
be bathed in God’s grace,
and slip into His royal robe.
(Isaiah 64:6 and 61:10).
Special thanks to Gospel For Asia (gfa.ca) for sharing God’s love and truth, and for the many encouraging stories they share.