In the Garden of Eden, when God asks Adam, “Where art thou?” the Lord knows where Adam is hiding. Yet by asking Adam this question, God honors Adam’s agency (after all, God fully knows where Adam or we are physically and spiritually at every moment of our lives).
A fascinating twist to this question is posed in the Pearl of Great Price. There we learn that the Lord is not only interested in where Adam is but more importantly where he is heading. According to the Pearl of Great Price, “the Lord God, called unto Adam, and said unto him: Where goest thou?” (Moses 4:15). Notice that the Lord isn’t concerned about discussing Adam’s transgression with him quite yet; His focus appears to be on where Adam and Eve are heading.
After we make mistakes, there are only two directions we can go: away from God or toward God. When we make mistakes, God is not shocked or surprised, but he IS concerned about where we will go and what we will do after the mistake has been made. Many people try to flee from the Lord and cover their mistakes with ‘fig leaves’ and yet others, in contrast, turn toward the Lord and seek forgiveness.
Whatever change in life’s circumstance may come our way, and whatever unexpected path we may have to travel, how we respond is a choice. Turning to the Savior and grasping His outstretched arm is always our best option.
The scriptural account of the brazen serpent teaches us that we have a choice when faced with challenges. After many of the children of Israel were bitten by fiery flying serpents, Moses lifted up a staff with a snake on it and told them that whosoever would look would live. But it was a choice. And many did look and live. Alma 33 says “… But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished.”
Here’s an invitation: when you make mistakes or even commit sin, always return to the Lord and avoid the natural instinct to hide and cover up the error. As we turn to the Lord, we find that His yoke is easy and His burden is light, even when ours may be heavy.