Where Are You?

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:8-9)

So much of what I heard and learned at last month’s Women’s Retreat is still kicking around in my head and in my heart. I’ve been thinking about Abby’s talk on honesty and hope and trying to start each day asking myself two simple questions:

Where are you?

Where do you need healing?

Abby presented to us a brief history of the world from creation to the present and laid the gospel out for us beautifully. We started in the Garden, naturally, where God asked Adam and Eve the very first question ever, “Where are you?” We know, of course, that they were hiding in shame for their nakedness. They were hiding because they knew they had done wrong. We also know, of course, that God knew exactly where they were and exactly what had happened. He asked the question to bring to them the full realization of what they had done.

As I’ve begun many days asking myself “Where are you? Where do you need healing?” I’ve seen a pattern in my answers. I’ve been acknowledging feelings of discontentment, anger, sadness, and frustration toward people in my life, painful memories, and events I wish had been different. What it boils down to is this-

I don’t like the story you’re writing here, God. I think I could do a better job.

Even as I thought that, I knew it wasn’t true. I knew that I don’t truly believe that my ways would be better. If my ways were better, I would have married Freddie from down the street, because he had an awesome tree-house. I would be perfecting my comedy/opera routine (Don’t try to analyze my childhood dreams.) in cities around the world, instead of plugging along day after day, cleaning messes and checking homework and cooking meals and doing laundry. I certainly wouldn’t be facing the rest of my life without my mom here, supporting me and pouring out her love upon my children. I wouldn’t have written in diabetes for my son. I wouldn’t suffer with migraines. That’s not the story I would write.

But I cannot acknowledge some of the hardest parts of my story without also acknowledging that those things teach me the most about Jesus. They show me my neediness for him and I am met with grace. They show me my dependence and I am met with grace. They show me my lack of wisdom and perspective and I am met with grace.

Grace upon grace upon grace.

So humbly, I admit, the story I would write for me wouldn’t actually be better. It would probably be easier, with less pain and suffering; a life I could coast through without having to get my hands too messy. Instead, I’ll “run with endurance the race (story!!) that is set before [me],  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of [my] faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Where are you?

Where do you need healing?

Doug Serven