For most of my life, I never doubted that God existed. But growing up in church and a Christian home wasn't enough to convince me that God was worth following and that He cared about who I was and where I was going with my life. My relationship with Him was shallow - more theoretical than experiential - and not a true belief in my soul. To me, God was more of a back-up plan. He was kind of like the distant parent you know is there, but you don't put anything into the relationship and you only go to them when you're in trouble and you need help. While I continued to go to church, I did it to socialize more than anything else. I rarely prayed, and my Bible gathered dust.
As the darkness closed in, I began to lose my way. I took less and less interest in the things of God. I thought I knew enough to be a decent Christian but the problem was, I thought I could believe the lie and still stay in the garden, too. I could still claim to be a Christian while staying in the refuge of my own deception. My fear and insecurity drove me from approaching the God I claimed to believe in. And yet, I never stopped asking the same questions that haunted me: is God for real? Can He be trusted? Does He truly care about me? I knew I shouldn't be hiding in the darkness and running from God. I knew I wasn't living out what I said I believed. But my fear, like Adam's, was too strong.
For me, that lonely night in the dark bedroom of my friends' house was the first time I can clearly remember hearing God's voice calling out...
Where are you?
To be honest, I can understand and relate to the fear Adam and Eve had because, just like them, I was hiding also. I was afraid of what God might discover if I let Him come any closer. Somehow, deep inside, I knew He'd been watching me this whole time, just as our first parents knew that God was aware of their sin before they even spoke up. And yet, I felt that the longer I stayed hidden, maybe God would just quit calling and go away. But He didn't...
Perhaps you are a bit disillusioned with God, too. If so, you're in good company because I've been there and so were Adam and Eve. It is so easy to feel as though God hasn't done enough for you and to walk away from the faith world completely. The lie that God isn't completely satisfying continues to echo down through history, and we've kept buying it...time and time again. We lay down the best He has to offer us and keep coming up empty. We now no longer live in a natural state of relationship with God and, instead, we look for the nearest bush to dodge behind when we hear God approaching. I don't know what your standing is with your Creator. You may even claim to believe that He doesn't exist. Whatever your reason for hiding from His presence, the truth is you're not alone. Because, for Adam and Eve as well as for us, isolation seems to be a common response. Seeking a place of hiding is a trait of fallen man, and only the relentless pursuit of God is the thing which can cause us to come out from our darkness and become like those described in John 3:21:
"Whoever lives by the truth comes into the light,
so that it may be seen plainly that what he has
done has been done through God."