Updated: Jan 31, 2020
Footsteps could be heard on the ground as Adam and Eve ran. The bushes rustled and the thorns pricked their skin as they scrambled to find a place to hide.
The air was cooler.
The sun was setting.
And God could be heard walking in the garden.
Adam and Eve ran and hid from God much like a toddler might run and hide from a parent when they have done something wrong. It's puzzling why the two people who shared such closeness with the Godhead would hide behind fig leaves.
They knew God. They knew Him well. Why did they run from Him? Why didn't they trust Him more?
When any believer, well versed or not, falls in to sin, shame will inevitably make itself known. When we study God's holiness we easily see just how far we fall short of His glory and that reality is used by the serpent. Armed with artillery, he whispers more poisonous lies in our ears. We were duped into believing God was holding out and that His Word couldn't be trusted and we fell into sin - only to be duped again into believing that we have fallen too far down to ever be picked up and redeemed.
I believe that is why God walked in the garden.
When the thunder cracked and the veil fell from their faces, everything changed for Adam and Eve. Their eyes were opened. They saw their sin and they were ashamed of their own propensity to indulge in it. It is no different for us today. The imprint of the fruit is still on our hands. We, too, have eaten from what is forbidden only for its aftertaste of shame to drive us further into the darkness.
Have you hidden behind proverbial bushes and fig leaves? Laid bare before the God of holiness, have you struggled to cover your shame?
Listen to God walking.
Just as Adam and Eve heard the footsteps of God in the Garden of Eden, if we listen closely, we can hear His footsteps too. Because regardless of what we have done, He always comes to us, calling out our name and offering to cover all that we try in vain to hide. That moment in Eden was a taste of Calvary to come.
God could have spoke from heaven and evicted Adam and Eve from the garden immediately. He could have struck them down dead for not walking perfectly. He could have done many things. Instead, He came to them directly, He called them personally and He replaced their fig leaves with warm sheep skin. Even in the beginning, redemption was the heartbeat of God. From Adam and Eve to Moses, from David to Hosea, all the way down to Jesus Christ Himself, God has been in the business of coming to the fallen and lifting them up with His own hands over and over and over... and all over again.
How can we say, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ," while we are cowering behind invisible bushes, fully and completely submerged in the shame that has us in its grip? How can we quote, "Come boldly before the throne of God," when we do not and we cannot because our minds can think of nothing but the need to hide? Adam and Eve had been tricked and deceived just as we all are but, along with the trickery, the slithering serpent infected mankind with the spiritual disease of shame. Why? Because shame destroys relationships and the most effective way to drive a wedge between the Redeemer and the redeemed is to fill the redeemed with so much shame that they cannot bear to be close to their Redeemer. Shame clouds the truth. Shame chips away at our identity. Shame prevents us from finding the restoration we need and from experiencing the power of God's mercy and grace.
Really, we are all running through Eden, fearful, humiliated, discouraged and just plain worn out. We run to the thicket and scramble for some semblance of cover believing God couldn't possibly forgive us this time, believing His mercy won't endure forever and His love, at some point, will fail.
If you find yourself absorbing the same lies from the same old serpent, remember that right in the middle of creation's ruin, God provided the remedy. At the moment when perfection was marred and the ones made in the image of God Himself were scarred with sin, God did not cast His people aside. Instead, He came and He walked in the garden.
Come out from hiding. We have the Cross which atones for all our trespasses and grace which covers all of our sin. No matter what you have done or may do, leave the fig leaves behind and listen for the footsteps of your Savior.