Where are You?
Genesis 3: 8-15 (NRSV)
8 They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.” 14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you among all animals
and among all wild creatures;
upon your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
Where are you? I have found this question incredibly helpful down the years in reassessing my walk with God and my engagement with the world. It is the question that the Lord God asks Adam after the fall when Adam was hiding from God. Adam and Eve have sold their innocence for a piece of forbidden fruit, and things have gone askew. They are naked and ashamed, and their world has been turned upside-down because the serpent's promises and lies have manipulated them.
So much of the sadness that is happening in the world today is due to lost innocence, promised power and influence; the result is control and manipulation at the hands of the world's power brokers. As the people of God, we must make sure that we don't fall into the temptation of being bought for a few tax breaks or a few years of fleeting power and influence. Politicians, media giants, and multinational corporations seek to sell us their vision and manipulate our thinking, which can be very confusing. On top of all this, we need to consider the role God plays in the public arena.
So how do we navigate this minefield? I suggest that it's helpful to ask God's question: Where are you? This means that we need to:
- Be informed on the issue/problem under consideration so we can make an informed decision.
- Understand how our response or actions benefit the common good, not just ourselves or God's people.
- Consider how the poor and oppressed benefit and whether justice is being done.
- Recognise that we may need to choose the best from a number of bad options.
- Deliberate on how we may avoid being manipulated or compromised by power brokers.
- Ask where is God in this issue or situation.
- Prayer for the mind of Christ and the coming of the kingdom into this situation.
Lord, grant mercy to those who experience the indignities of injustice and powerlessness. Raise up leaders dedicated to your standards of order, equity, and justice. Grant us the strength to work for the common good of all people.