The first question God asks of us as human beings is, Where are you?
This is not a question about location –
God is not asking for our Post Code so he can punch it into his Sat Nav and come over –
it is a question about being human –
Where are you, in relation to receiving yourself as gift, as a particular gift with a particular giftedness and given-ness, given to you for you, and for the world? Where are you, in relation to recognising these things about others? Where are you?
The first response of us as human beings is, Hiding – as much from ourselves as from one another and from God.
Hiding because we have become disconnected from our given-ness and giftedness, and, having become exposed to the vastness of possibility that lies open before God, we are overwhelmed, feel inadequate, lost.
And so God moves to help us step out from our hiding place, to find ourselves, the needle in the haystack.
This is expressed in the story of Abraham, the father of those who step out in faith that God might prove trustworthy.
God says, leave your country and your people and your father’s house and go, journey to the country I will show you.
In saying this, God is not saying that Abraham’s country and people and father’s house are bad. They are Abraham’s starting-point. They are the context(s) that has shaped Abraham so far, that have enabled him to respond to God at all. Indeed, his journey is a continuation of the journey he had already set out on with his father and his father’s household. But Abraham must journey beyond what he has known, and the security that it – in negative and positive ways – has given, if he is to inhabit his calling, his particular giftedness and given-ness.
The country into which he will journey is as much internal as external: as much a mapping of Abraham as it is the mapping of a patch of earth. And ultimately, God declares, this ‘land’ will not be possessed by Abraham but by his descendants. The internal land, as much as the external land: for Abraham is the father of faith; and, indeed, who we are called to be is for those who follow after us and not us alone.
It will turn out that the life God calls Abraham to is one of walking with God, in particular in the evenings or at nightfall. Which is in fact the very thing that Adam experienced before the hiding.
Where God asks once more, Where are you? – not because we are hiding but rather because we are journeying together.