The Trees (Hiding From)
“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.” (Genesis 3:8)
Adam and Eve listen to the enemy, eat the fruit, and realize their shame. They’re naked and alone and fearful, walking in a garden beyond their wildest imaginations and only able to look down at their nakedness. They can’t bear to see God, so they hide.
I have a friend group full of people who love Jesus and love each other. We play a lot of Volleyball and Settlers of Catan, and we saw Finding Dory at a Drive-In movie theater a couple weeks ago. We’re all in similar phases of life, trying to get healthy jobs and healthy relationships and healthy eating habits.
But the enemy tells me I don’t belong. I am not good enough or cool enough or ________________ enough. I shouldn’t talk so much. I should open up more. I should text them encouraging verses.
I should, I should, I should.
I realize I’m naked and I’m afraid they can see right through me. I’m a fraud—it’s only a matter of time. So I hide behind the trees of humor. I make jokes about my singleness, jokes about my brain, jokes about my insecurities. If I joke about them with my friends, surely they won’t be able to notice how serious I am. Surely they won’t be able to notice how I’m actually asking for help.
I’m walking in a garden full of beautiful friendships and am only able to look down at my own nakedness.
“But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” (Genesis 3:9)
Sometimes I think that when I hide from my friends I am hiding from God. God has placed them in my life, and if I hide from something God has placed in my life, in the end aren’t I just hiding from God?
So I hide behind my words and then go home and hide behind my comforter.
As I lay there I hear the still small voice, “Where are you?”
The Cleft of the Rock (Hiding In)
“And the Lord said ‘Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:21-23)
Moses asks the Lord to see his glory, and the Lord agrees. The Lord hides Moses in the cleft of the rock while the Lord passes by and announces his name.
Adam and Eve hid behind the trees and Moses hid in the cleft of the rock. The Lord passed by each of them.
But Adam and Eve hid from God and Moses hid in God. Adam and Eve hid out of their shame; Moses hid out of his obedience.
God sees me under my comforter but asks me anyway, “Drew, where are you?”
And as I hide there from the rest of the world, he asks me to hide in him instead. To leave the trees of shame behind and enter into the beauty of life in his presence. My eyes have grown weary looking at my own nakedness; I long to look out at the garden around me, to hear the footsteps of God in the garden. To hide in him and look out at the real world.
But the trees are reassuring to stand behind; my comforter is lonely and sad, but at least it is known. Hiding from God is what I’m used to. I’m afraid to hide in him because it seems so vulnerable, so exposed.
He is reaching out his hand, offering to clothe me in newness of life (2 Corinthians 5:17), offering to lead me to life abundant (John 10:10).
I must make a decision.
I think of my friends and how they are cheering for me. How they have front row seats in the great cloud of witnesses and would encourage me to say yes. They have always wanted me to leave the trees behind; it’s only the enemy who has kept me in my shame.
Again, the Lord asks me to hide in him, and I can hear my friends cheering.
So I utter a nervous “Yes” and take his hand, stepping from behind the trees and into the cleft of the rock. I can hear familiar voices celebrating my newness.
God holds me and hides me in him, saying his name so I know I am his.
* * *
Saying “Yes” isn’t a one-time event. It’s an everyday occurrence. It’s waking up in the morning and looking to the Lord. It’s consciously stepping from behind the trees and saying yes to community. It is coffee dates and late nights and hard conversations. It is give and take and a whole lot of grace. It is difficult but so, so beautiful. It is relationship.
And it isn’t always sweet and rosy and full of laughs. Life is painful, and reality can be shattering. But that doesn’t take away the realness of our “Yes.” It doesn’t take away the power of our God. It doesn’t take away the need for community.
Our “Yes” signifies a sweet, sweet relationship with the Creator of the Universe and the people he created.
He goes by Yahweh, and he is our good, good Father. They go by friends, and they are brothers and sisters.
Would you join me in saying “Yes?”