Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Echoes from the Garden

Two years ago, my friend left San Antonio to be with her dad in Houston. He was undergoing surgery for liver cancer at MD Anderson. The doctors had given the family a rather bleak outlook. My friend, who is a single mother, was without her two kids who were away at camp. For several weeks she found herself going back and forth to be with her dad.

I knew my friend was feeling very alone during this time so I was determined to be on standby to help her if she needed me. When her first call came, I was heading back to San Antonio from a meeting in Austin. She explained that her dad’s vitals did not look good and that he did not have long. This was the first real indicator that I needed to go to Houston that day. About two hours after our initial conversation she finally said, “Please come now.”

My friend needed me and that became the priority in that moment. I was back in my car and on the road within 45 minutes of the request. I called my friend to let her know I was on my way to Houston, a trip that would take about four hours. As my thoughts about the situation were rolling around in my head, the cell phone rang once again. I saw that it was her on caller id and I said, “How are you?”  

My friend’s response pierced my heart. Even though she knew that I was only thirty minutes down the road, she asked a question that went beyond logic. With a sound of desperate aloneness in her voice she said, “Where are you?”  She wasn’t being conversational or asking me about my actual location. She was communicating from a much deeper place expressing her loneliness - her feeling of loss. Those three words still resonate in me today. These are the same words our Creator used a long time ago when we went missing.

In a garden that none of us can yet imagine where there was no loss, Adam and Eve would walk with God. This was a place of extreme beauty and bliss – a place translated, “delight or paradise.” Every day in majestic surroundings the ones made in His image found themselves interacting with the Creator of the universe. Their relationship was one of complete intimacy with nothing between them. God loved His creation and they knew it beyond any doubt. Actually, they had never experienced doubt to know what it felt like.

God was in paradise with two others whom He deeply loved and He seemed to find fulfillment just being with them. Adam and Eve gave God something the angelic host could not. They could choose to love Him back the way that He loved them. They could choose to stay intertwined in an eternal relationship with nothing hidden and nothing to be afraid of. Then, one day after walking in all that love and beauty, Adam and Eve chose to walk away.

God’s response to this choice is forever etched in the earth. The words that poured out of His heart were ones that expressed His anguish. These were desperate, longing, searching words communicating His great feeling of loss just as my friends had the day she felt so alone. They are the same words that can be heard now when one has wondered far away from the garden where God is and looks for us to be.

If anyone wonders what God is all about - what He is really interested in, take a walk back to paradise when His heart first broke. Go back to the first time He missed you. Hear the deep longing beyond the words. Listen with your heart as you hear His. His words do not hide what our Creator really desires, what He really longs for. God’s words to all humanity remain the same today as it was that day in the garden,“Where are you?” Three gut-wrenching words explain God’s heart toward us. In them we find Him. They echo His passion. They forever communicate - it is us that God wants. 

Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9 (NLT)

Copyright © Debbie Rodgers, used with permission. 

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