Where Are You?
The first time we see the question, “Where are you?” in scripture, it is not a question from man to God, but from God to man. The Creator of heaven and earth asks this very question of Adam before Adam ever asks it of God.
When I was a boy, my friend Stuart and I would vacation with his family in Priest Lake, Idaho. We would spend the days out on the water, in his father’s boat, being pulled around, excitedly awaiting the next time one of us would crash on skis or an inner tube. The hot, Idaho air would put us in a daze by mid-afternoon, and we would pull the boat in for a break. I can remember jumping off the dock on to the tubes, which were floating next to the boat, and falling asleep just for a couple of seconds as I took it all in. Multiple times, I can remember, I would wake up only to find I had drifted from the dock.
Through my life with God, I have found that some of the same things can happen in my Christian life. We work hard to know God, to understand Him and His love for us, and we spend long days in His world trying to find Him. After a while, through various, complex circumstances, we stop paying attention. In our lack of attention, in our sleepiness, our apathy or daydreaming, we slowly drift away. Only when we are awakened by someone or something do we realize how far we’ve gone.
“In your presence, there is fullness of joy,” says the Psalmist. I’m realizing more and more that this joy spoken of in scripture is profoundly true. When we drift from God, we not only miss Him, but the joy that comes with it. And the only way to remain close to the shore is to be aware of where we are. We must silence our questions to God for a moment and begin to hear what He is asking us: Where are you?
Chris Nye is a pastor, writer and teacher living in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Allison. His writing has appeared in Books & Culture, Leadership Journal, Preaching Today and various other publications. Currently, Chris serves as a pastor for teaching and leadership development at Willamette Christian Church, a growing community of over 2,000 people.