The Lord God then called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)
This is, in my opinion, the saddest line in the whole of Scripture. It hints of God’s heart ache for us. It is a response to a choice Adam and Eve made that formed a great chasm between God and us. A chasm we created because of our pride. A chasm we will never be able to bridge by ourselves. Thus the whole saga of salvation history begins, the story of the Bible, from Noah to Abraham to Jesus to Revelation.
“Where are you?” This is the question that touches our deep spiritual loneliness. Where are we? Hiding from shame, pretending we cannot be found the way toddlers cover their eyes in hide-and-seek as if that made them invisible. We run from God to the farthest shores and then throw the question back in defiance. “Where are you, God? Why do my prayers seem to fall on deaf ears?” The Lord knew perfectly well where Adam and Eve were. It is not our physical location that separates us from God, but rather our spiritual condition. Even our ability to perceive God’s presence has been vastly diminished. All our thoughts of God are distorted by…our being curved in on ourselves. The grammar of prayer must account for this separation and the efforts of God has made to cross the divide and restore our capacity for relationship.†
We think we are the ones searching for God. We are. But in reality, God is searching for us, just like the lost sheep, lost coin, and the lost son (Luke 15) God’s heart aches even than ours for reunion. Because God is looking for us, we are looking for God.
Here I am, Lord. Thank you for seeking me. Help me to stop trying to hide from you, and just be in your presence.
† Gerrit Scott Dawson, “Prayer in the Triune Life”, Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life, Vol. XVII, no. 3, May/June 2002, special issue called “Prayer”.