Welcome to the first “Ask Me Anything Friday!”
For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting short excepts from my book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Lives to God’s Questions, as we prepare for the book release in November.
I hope you enjoy these glimpses into the study on the questions God asked in Scripture and what happens when we allow God to search our own hearts and draw us closer to Him.
God asked them a question.
Adam and Eve sinned that first sin in the Garden of Eden and they impulsively hid.
That’s when they heard God’s steps as He searched for them and they heard Him ask that one simple question:
“Where are you?”
“At least some part of them probably wanted to remain silent and continue cowering among the leaves as long as possible. They had wandered away from God’s side, choosing sin over innocence, and then when their eyes were opened, they were so filled with shame that they hid from God.
It’s no different than my daughter when she is in trouble. When Momma discovers her disobedience, she’s sad. She cries a bit at punishment and feels remorseful.
The ultimate pain for her, though, is if Momma tells Daddy what she did. It’s not because Daddy is going to punish her again. She’s already received discipline from me. She just so desperately wants to hide away her sin from him because she’s ashamed of it and knows he will be disappointed.
Shame is so destructive. It builds up walls in our relationships, preventing us from experiencing the freedom of vulnerability and intimacy. Adam and Eve were burdened by shame and they couldn’t even stand face to face with God, even the God who created them and loved them.
Yet, it is grace that counteracts shame in our lives…
This is a grace that Adam and Eve had not yet experienced as they stood among the foliage in the garden, hiding their faces in shame. There had been no sin in that paradise and therefore no need for grace. They didn’t know that while there are consequences for sin, there is also forgiveness available.
It’s a grace I struggle at times to comprehend and feel even though I’ve seen and experienced a life overflowing with God’s grace. I fall easily into works-based living, expecting perfection and achieving failure. I see the stains of sin on my heart and even when they are washed away, I still feel dirty, unusable and bound for the trashcan sometimes.
I struggle with a prison of self-condemnation. Long after I’ve repented and sought forgiveness, I feel the heaviness of guilt—no, shame really. It’s a prison of thoughts—“You’re unworthy. God can’t use you. You fail, all the time you fail, same sins all the time.”
Shame imprisons us and hides us away from God. We feel unworthy of His attention and beyond salvation. That’s why Adam and Eve covered themselves in palm leaves and stood still with hushed breaths as God came walking in the garden. They were paralyzed by the shame of what they had done. It probably seemed as if there was no hope of restoration.
That is what we feel sometimes, too, but this is what we can know:
- “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NKJV).
- ” Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7, NIV).
- “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:10-12, NKJV)
- “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1, NKJV).
Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, God purposed to send His Son, Jesus, to die for all our sins so that we could be cleansed, thoroughly washed clean, all sin stains removed.
So that our relationship with Him—the relationship broken by that initial sin in the Garden of Eden and then re-broken over and over again in our disobedient lives—-could be restored.
He “reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18, NKJV).
That was a plan enacted by God in immediate response to Adam and Eve’s sin. They and all their descendants were not beyond His reach, even with sin so ugly and shame so heavy that it interrupted their relationship with Him.
God’s grace produces reconciliation.
Satan’s accusations—even long after we’ve repented—bow us low to the ground with shame. We become burdened with sins already forgiven and are unable to look up into God’s face any longer. We can’t walk in relationship with our Savior when we are too ashamed to match His gaze.
So, like Adam and Eve, sometimes we hide from God rather than respond to His call.
Yet, God whispers the searching question to our shame-filled hearts, “Where are you?”
He wants us to return to His side and resume our intimate walks with Him through life, to converse, to share, to listen and respond, but first He must meet us where we are and then heal the heart paralyzed by shame.
Taken from Ask Me Anything, Lord,© 2013 by Heather King. Used by permission of Discovery House Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 49501. All rights reserved. www.dhp.org.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2012 Heather King