What are the bushes you are hiding behind?
And when they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in paradise at the afternoon air, Adam and his wife hid themselves from the face of the Lord God, amidst the trees of paradise. And the Lord God called Adam, and said to him: Where art thou? And he said: I heard thy voice in paradise; and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.
And he said to him: And who hath told thee that thou wast naked, but that thou hast eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat? And Adam said: The woman, whom thou gavest me to be my companion, gave me of the tree, and I did eat And the Lord God said to the woman: Why hast thou done this? And she answered: The serpent deceived me, and I did eat. And the Lord God said to the serpent: Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed among all cattle, and beasts of the earth: upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.
When I was a boy about the age of eight I learned a lesson about hiding. One day I saw my mother’s sewing machine sitting out. Next to it was her treasured pair of sewing shears. They were a very expensive pair of scissors. I picked them up to try them out. I cut thread, I cut cloth, then I did something really dumb.
I knew about electricity and how dangerous it was. Nevertheless, I took those shears and cut through the sewing machine’s electrical cord. You know what happened. Boom! Sparks flew everywhere. Color flashed blue and orange before my eyes.
As the cord fell, half this way and half that, I dropped the scissors and ran away to hide. Children do that when they are frightened. I hid in the darkest part of the basement where no one would find me. I was so afraid about how much trouble I would be in that I stayed there the rest of that afternoon, hiding in shame.
Adam and Eve thought the same thing. They were naked. They had always been this way, but now they were aware and ashamed of it. What an uncomfortable feeling that was. They were ashamed of their bodies and of what they had done. They felt defenseless, vulnerable and exposed. So they hid themselves behind bushes while God was taking his daily walk in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day.
They had disobeyed his word, went beyond the boundaries God had given,and ate something forbidden. God had warned them, “What day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death.” Death was still leaving a bad taste in their mouth when God was searching them out.
Everything had changed with in minutes of disobeying God. They no longer trusted God. They hid from him. They once reflected God’s image. Now that image had been stained with the sin of disobedience and rebellion. They became “like God” in the sense that they became his rivals, his competitors. They were turned inward on themselves, self-oriented, self-aware, self-centered.
Let me ask you a question. Are there bushes you are hiding behind so that people do not see who you really are? Do you realize that God sees you?
Like Adam and Eve, many of us live much of our lives in hiding. We hide behind the bushes, our public image. When we do something wrong or have that deep dark sin controlling our lives we run to the “Trees” or the “bushes”. We hide behind our work, our play, our religion.
“Oh” you say, “I don’t cheat on my wife!” That’s just the tree your hiding behind. Meanwhile your having lustful thoughts and long glances at other women.
But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.
“Yea”, you say, “But I pray the rosary every day, sometimes three times a day!” But are you using it as a bush to hide your nakedness?
You see, people look on the outward side of things. Many have gotten so good at covering up they look really good! But God looks on the inward man and sees nakedness.
(I Kings 16:7)
nor do I judge according to the look of man: for man seeth those things that appear, but the Lord beholdeth the heart.
Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you are like to whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men’ s bones, and of all filthiness. So you also outwardly indeed appear to men just; but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
We hide behind these things because we don’t want to be naked before God.
We tend to hide behind these different bushes, and try to justify our nakedness and sins with God by telling ourselves they are not so bad. “Look at everybody else. They are all doing it.”
Adam blamed God and Eve. “The woman, whom thou gavest me” Eve blamed the serpent. “The serpent deceived me”
So God’s voice like footsteps are heard. He draws nearer and nearer to them. God calls out to Adam, “Where art thou?” God knew where Adam was located, he was hiding in the bushes. It was a question of relationship.
“Where are you with respect to God? With respect to your wife, with respect to the creation of which you are a part?”
God calls out to us in our hiding places.”Where art thou?”.
He calls to us in our hiding places, in our work cubicles, in our cars, at our dining room tables, an in our beds. “Where art thou?”
He calls to us in our relationships, in our singleness, in our marriages. “Where art thou?”
In the adversities we face, the disease, the rebellious son or daughter, in the fire and tornado God is calling to us, “Where art thou?”
Exposed, Adam hides behind the bushes of excuses. “I heard you in the garden, but I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” God said, “Who said you were naked?”
The real problem wasn’t that Adam was naked. God made him that way. The real problem was that Adam was in disobedient. Adam ate of death. He became an enemy of God. Fear and shame were his problems, not God’s. As an enemy, he could flee God or fight him.
What’s our excuse? Why are we hiding from God? Why don’t we have a great desire to hear from God, to listen to his voice? Why are we hiding in the bushes instead of getting in the closet of the confessional and totally opening ourselves up to what is going on in our hearts?What is our excuse? Is it our business? Do we have other plans? Is God not important? Nonsense! This is hiding.
By the way some people are using the confessional as a bush. They go in and say, “Forgive me Father for I have sinned”. Then they begin to confess a sin here or there and don’t get down to really pouring out there heart, showing all there nakedness. Its no wonder the Protestants don’t believe in the confessional! Its not doing your average Catholic any good! Your average Catholic is just peaking through the bushes and trees and not exposing themselves to God completely!
Ever had a disagreement with a friend and find it hard to talk to that person? It seems like that person is avoiding you? How that hurts. That’s how we act with God.
The answer to our hiding is confession. We speak to God and admit our shame. Adam and Eve didn’t confess. They pointed fingers. Adam pointed to Eve, Eve points to the serpent.
Full confession draws us out of hiding. We reveal ourselves to God. He knows our hearts before we speak, but confession admits it to God. We confess we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned against God by and through, our words, and deeds.
Confession is a kind of death. We die to our self and expose our self to God completely no matter the cost so that we can hear the Priest say, go in peace thy sins are forgiven.
(I John 1:9)
When and if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity.
Jesus is saying to all of us Hide in me, Don’t hide in the bushes by yourself. Hide behind the tree of my cross. I will protect you there. You don’t have to be ashamed. Be baptized into my death and resurrection. Trust that my death and life are yours.
Jesus calls us out of the bushes and into communion with him. He gathers us together. He points to those seated around him and says, “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” We are his family, we are his church.
God’s will is that you hide in Jesus and not in yourselves. Use Jesus against your sin and death. Live as his free children, confessing your sin.