Awhile back I had the misfortune of turning on our TV to a show called ‘Naked and Afraid’. Before my very eyes were two naked strangers stranded on an island and expected to ‘survive’. Besides the blurry man bits and girl bobs that distracted my view – the concept was horrendous. Why on this living earth would anyone want to stab snakes, smash coconuts, endure torrential rain in poorly made shelters (the poorly may be attributed to constantly having to pause to scratch one’s bottom …?) and hope that eventually the fish is caught and that the fire actually starts after hours of rubbing. And all of this NAKED!
Amazingly in amongst all of this trauma, God reminded me: “You were once naked and afraid …”
Genesis 3:8 – 9 “ And they heard the sound [voice] of the Lord God walking in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife HID from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden” [at least they had the decency to hide rather than splay themselves on national TV, but that is beside the point …] “Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him: “Where are you?”.
Sadly this is the question sitting over every unsaved person living. Where are you? They are naked and afraid. They have no covering. They have sinned and are hiding BUT what about those who are saved? Those who have given their lives to Jesus yet remain naked and afraid. Believers who are still hiding from the presence of God amongst the ‘trees’ of life – hiding in work, hiding in church – in church activities, hiding in broken marriages, hiding in sadness with a smile as camouflage, hiding in sport, hiding in success, hiding in hidden sin, hiding in unforgiveness. Hunted by the accuser – the evil one. Suffering under the hammer of law wielded by his grimy hands reminding them every day of every fault. God wants you naked and unafraid.
I hear God calling. I hear Him walking in the cool of the day. I hear His voice. Listen with me.
Hear that sound …it is the sound of an axe going at the throat of a large tree. Yes, the one you are hiding behind. It is the splinter and groan as the mass hits the floor and chains clank around its torso and it is dragged – carved and placed high up on a hill. Listen.
Hear that sound …it is the crack of a whip and the rip of flesh as bone, metal, glass are forced into His back and grab bits of flesh. It is the whimper and yell as two-inch thorns savage His temples and run blood into His eyes. It is the drag of his torn garment and knees as He crawls over gravel. Over stones. It is the sound of dread – of His beating heart – of His mind scrambling for words to hold onto. His spirit panicking shuffling in the dark feeling for the promises. It is the pull as they stretch Him out – hard – with force. It is the sound of fire as it runs through His veins and along all His nerves – hands and feet thumping. Pain coursing, escalating – flowing like a river whose banks have been breached. It is the thud as the cross rocks and settles in its base. It is the gurgling as fluid gathers and the gasp for air from innocent lips.
Hear that sound …it is the roar as hatred hurtles towards His soul. It is the chewing of gossip on every fissure. It is the rattle of violence along every corridor of His mind. It is the stab of every lie, every unkind word. It is multiple grazes on a pure spirit. Grazes of anger, theft, racism and rejection. Rape like madness swirling over love. Murder punching and beating His innocence. It is child abuse and abortion and illicit sex. It is the shards of broken hearts, cries of butchered families –echoes of genocide. It is the Holocaust. It is Bosnia, Syria, Desert Storm, Hiroshima – it is every war and every war crime beating on Him – shouting in His ears. It is unfaithfulness whispering viciously – adultery. Orphans whimpering. The poor moaning. It is sickness yanking shards from His beauty – cancerous growths, infected wounds and deformations – mutations clawing. It is the maniacal cackle of every demon spitting, vomiting and taunting. Pride, greed and betrayal. The sound of hypocrisy, defamation and religion masquerading and belittling ….
Hear that sound … wretched sadness as He looks for His Fathers face and cannot see it. ‘Abba – where are you?’ ‘Dad, help me. Please’. ‘Why are You hiding?’ ‘All this evil and pain …’
The sound of His mangled soul heaving as the final throes of sacrifice curdle in the deepest recesses of His heart and hurtle in a final howl of desperation: ‘Eli Eli Sabbachthini’ “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” The sound of the Father’s heartbreak.
Now listen carefully. It is a quiet noise. Listen.
The flow of blood.
Thicker than water.
Hear that sound. It is the sound of Jesus lining up all principalities and powers and stripping them of all power and strength. It is the jangle of keys as they are yanked from Satan’s belt. The keys of death and Hades pulled from his shrivelled grasp. It is the sound of Jesus looking each demonic power in the eyes and extricating every deed and title to earth. It is the sound of original dominion. The sound of victory. Of resurrection.
Listen: Romans 3 v 23 – 26 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation, BY HIS BLOOD, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had PASSED OVER THE SINS that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might BE JUST and THE JUSTIFIER of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Come out. Come out from your hiding place! A risen Lord stands waiting in the cool of your life. Every sin is forgiven, past, present and to come. Did you not hear all your sin being slaughtered with the Lamb? The accuser whispers in your ear that even though you are saved, you will never be good enough, but the shout from the cross is louder. You are righteous. Your confession is one of hope – of thankfulness and praise. I am forgiven. I am healed. I am a friend of God. Stand naked my friends. The old animal skins were pegged to a tree and you are covered in amazing grace. God wants to walk with you, talk with you and show you all the inheritance that is yours in Jesus. The church has been robbed of this simple message: Jesus died, so that you do not. Jesus was naked, so that you are not. Jesus was brave, so that you have courage. Your Eden is now. The curse is broken. Come out from your hiding: naked and unafraid.