“But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’”
If we’re not careful, there’s a temptation to think of God being caught off-guard. “Where are you, Adam?” he asks. This doesn’t sound like the all-powerful creator that we’ve just read about in the first two chapters of Genesis.
God asks Adam where he is not because he lacks the information but for Adam’s benefit. The Lord asks a rhetorical question to get him to confess his guilt. Unfortunately, the response of Adam and Eve isn’t repentance but avoidance. Their hearts corrupted by sin, they try to shift the blame of their action to others – even to God himself!
In their sin, Adam and Eve were alienated from God and from each other (why else would they be ashamed of their nakedness?). Instead of perfect communion, there was sin, disappointment and shame.
Sin has brought alienation to our relationships as well. When we’ve sinned, we too try to assign blame to others. Many of us have broken, damaged relationships. We carry around hurts, broken hearts and disappointment every day. Christmastime, which should make things better, only seems to heighten our loneliness and isolation.
The message of Advent is that God provides. He comes to us and asks, “Where are you?” not because he doesn’t know but because he wants us to tell him – because the very act of responding to God in our brokenness is an act of faith. All of our hurts are not going to be healed in this life. We are not “shiny, happy people” and we never will be. Yet, God meets us in our brokenness and alienation and provides salvation – both for fallen individuals and a fallen cosmos.