That’s the question we often ask of God. That’s the question God asked of Adam and Eve so long ago in the garden as they hid from Him among the trees. “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)
I feel like God still asks that same question today of me at times. And I have to ask myself, ‘do I, like Adam and Eve attempt to hide from God sometimes?’ Why would I hide from my Heavenly Father’s loving, comforting, protective presence? Job wasn’t hiding from God. Job was doing just the opposite. Job was trying to find God so that he could question God. Job wanted answers to his questions and his first question was, “where are You, God?” Job was seeking God, convinced that God had abandoned him, based on his own dire circumstances and great losses. Job no longer felt God’s presence and protection abiding with him and he was desperate to know again the relationship he thought he had lost forever.
Am I like Job? Aren’t each of us at times? We wonder, where is God in our circumstances, in our suffering? I know I, like Job, cry out, “where are You, God?” Do I rely on my circumstances and my feelings to determine if God is present with me, rather than rely on His promises to me that I find in His word? Do God’s words, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” ring true for me? Do I believe them over my current circumstances? Do I believe them over how I feel at the moment?
If my Heavenly Father were to ask of me the same question He asked of Adam and Eve in the garden, “where are you?”, how would I answer Him?
Truthfully, some days I am in the pit, paralyzed by fear or doubt or discouragement. Some days I am on the mountain top – though all too briefly – much more briefly than my stays in the pit. For the air is thin on the mountain top and there is no level ground on which I can lie and rest up for the journey yet ahead of me.
Some days you will find me in the valley, while some seasons I spend in the desert – thirsty and wandering, searching for an oasis. Some days I can be found drowning in self-pity or in rough seas, fighting just to stay afloat. Then from the flood to the furnace I go, wondering if I will survive the flames.
You may find me on the roadside of the race; injured and weak, cast aside, watching others run the race – surprised that no one hears my cries and stops to offer a hand of help. You may find me wandering far from the path – pursuing what does not please God nor satisfy me. You may find me lost in a forest deep or climbing a cliff impossibly steep.
You may find me crawling in a cave or conquering heights that I might gain a better view – but may You find me always, ever, on my knees, while seeking more of You! For knees can bend and head can bow, no matter where I be – on mountain’s peak or in ocean’s depth, I am never far from Thee.
And with this revelation it is abundantly clear to me, I am the one who waxes and wanes, who comes and goes, in my relationship with my Heavenly Father. He is right where He has always been and always will be. God never changes, never slumbers nor sleeps. He is an ever present help in trouble, His faithfulness endures to all generations. His mercies are new every morning.
My Heavenly Father is right there waiting and watching, just like the father in the parable of the prodigal son. God is ready to receive me again and again – as many times as I look up and see that I have again wandered away like a small child chasing a butterfly or some other elusive longing that she forgot was already completely fulfilled by the God she so casually left behind in order to search for what she already possessed.
And so I find my way again to the God who “fills everything in every way.”, including me. (Ephesians 1:23) And when I do, I find my Heavenly Father waiting and willing to receive me with open arms and to celebrate my return, just like the father of the prodigal son received him in the parable Jesus told.
And here’s the wonderful truth that Job, even in all his troubles and loss and suffering knew – even when he couldn’t find God, Job never doubted that God knew right where he was and would come to him when the time was right. Job was never lost to God. Job was never hidden from God. God never needed to ask of Job, “where are you?” God knew.
I, too am not hidden from God. Even in all my wanderings, all my comings and goings, God does not need to ask of me, “where are you?” God knows.
“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)
“the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:8)
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.”
“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You.” (Psalm 139:7-12)
sincerely, Grace Day