“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.”
Genesis 3:8 (NIV)
Hiding from God… it’s what we as human beings do and have done since Adam and Eve walked the earth.
Last week I was taking a stroll around the pond in my backyard. It is, by far, my favorite place on our property to simply be with God and listen. The sights, the sounds, the wildness of color, and the life teeming all around give me a modest glimpse into the creativity displayed in the Garden of Eden and I feel the generosity of God to us as human beings.
Unfortunately, the sandy soil and lack of rain this season have left this spot I love a bit ravaged. The water has considerably receded by many feet leaving the banks dry and uninviting. Still, I come, knowing that even in the messiness of it, God is there.
Approaching the pond last week I felt a keen awareness of how God may feel when we hide from him in our messiness.
I came to the pond because I love it, even at its worst. As I drew near, even though I was walking slowly and carefully not to disturb or frighten anything, twenty to thirty baby frogs began jumping from the banks to evade me. Some would hang on longer than others but the closer I got, even the holdouts would let fear overtake them, and out they would jump. Realistically, I know this is their sense of self-protection and self-preservation kicking in but still, it made me sad and I thought of God so long ago approaching Adam and Eve in the garden after they’d eaten the fruit of the tree that would usher sin into the world. He came to be with this creation and they let fear pull them away.
I, in no way, wanted to harm the little frogs as I drew near the water. I just wanted to be with them, even in the mess. To see them basking in the early morning sun as it glimmered off their tiny eyes peeking out of the water. They, however, don’t know my heart for them, so they jumped into hiding.
Clearly, it’s not all that different for us as human beings.
Adam and Eve hid from God in their brokenness rather than trusting his heart for them. Yes, they had done what God told them not to do and there would be consequences for that choice. However, I can’t help but wonder, “Would things have been different if they’d trusted God’s heart and love for them and simply came to him with what they’d done?” There is no way of knowing and ultimately it’s irrelevant in the sense that “what’s done is done.” Still, I think there is much for us today to learn from their choice to hide.
Standing there on the edge of the water that day, letting sadness enter my heart, as my little frog friends left me and I thought of Adam and Eve hiding as well, a new thought came to mind.
“What if we who follow Jesus stopped hiding? What if we believed he was safe, even in our brokenness and messy choices?”
As I let these questions simmer in my mind, an area of personal struggle came to the forefront of my thoughts. I realized at that moment, I needed to ask for forgiveness, but that wasn’t new. What was new, however, was deciding to exercise my belief in how safe Jesus really is with my heart. And so rather than hiding behind forgiveness, and moving on, I decided to stay present and share with Jesus why I struggle in this area of life and how I needed his help.
It was a moment of closeness and intimacy that only comes when sharing your deepest, darkest secrets with someone and they don’t run from you or chastise you but draw close.
Friends, this is how we draw closer to the heart of God, by staying with him in the mess, even messes we’ve created for ourselves. God’s heart to us can be trusted. Yes, depending on the issue, there may be consequences but love will never be taken from us, which gives us the confidence that we can stop hiding because we are safe with God.
For Your Reflection…
What parts of your life are you trying to keep hidden from God?
Spend some time considering how it might draw you closer to him if you actually talked about it with him rather than hiding it.