One of my favorite things about summer is our annual waterpark trip down to Wildwood with the Greens. If all goes well, God willing, this will be our third annual trip down there. As I look at the pictures as memories pop up, seeing how much the children have grown yearly reminds me of how blessed we have continuously been by the Lord.

I can remember the first year we went; how could I not? It was one of the scariest moments I remember having in such a long time. It was great weather and a lot of fun, but like all things, the day was to end. Christiano was only about five years old, Joshua was not even two, and Mila was not in the picture. The older children stayed with Dana, and I took Christiano to the bathroom to change him out of his bathing suit. Well, of course, even then, strong-willed Joshua wanted to accompany us, and he did.

As we move to the back of the locker room area, I begin to change Christiano, and Joshua is right next to me. As Christiano takes off his bathing suit, I call Joshua, and there is no response as I look down. I immediately look up, and he is missing; when I say missing, I mean he is nowhere to be seen. I feel panic start to set in, and I repeat his name, “Joshua, Joshua,” yet no response from him is given. I remember it like yesterday; at this point of my walk, the Lord was starting to show me how to lead my wife and family; I had just recently fully submitted everything to him. Yet at that moment, as shameful as I feel typing it, I can remember my mind thinking of the worst and knowing what I was capable of doing and would do. I screamed his name again, “Joshua, where are you” still no response, and in a moment of seconds, I was headed to shut down the locker room door and let no one leave until someone produced my son to me and out of the corner of my eye I saw a curtain move right behind Christiano. 

I said, “Joshua Gary is that you?” he jumped out with a massive smile and went, “beeee booo” only I didn’t find his game of peek-a-boo funny. As I retell this story, I can feel the tears that rarely come from me build up again as they did that day. I grabbed him firmly, instead of embracing him, told him, “don’t you ever hide from me, don’t you know what I thought happened to you, don’t you know I thought someone took you, don’t you know that I thought I would never see you again.” This was an epic moment of failure as my one year old looked at me not only confused but just upset.

I love the story of the fall in the Garden of Eden, not because I love the idea of sin coming into the world but rather because there is so much that the Lord has taught me through it. The fall of man in the garden has continuously taught me about my leadership as a husband and father.

The scripture shows us how God handles His creation when they not only sin against him but try to hide and cover it up. Genesis 3:7-10 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

Charles Spurgeon says it like this:
 But now, the Lord himself comes forth to Adam, and note how he comes. He comes walking. He was in no haste to smite the offender, not flying upon wings of wind, not hurrying with his fiery sword unsheathed, but walking in the garden. “ In the cool of the day ” — not in the dead of night, when the natural glooms of darkness might have increased the terrors of the criminal; not in the heat of the day, lest he should imagine that God came in the heat of passion; not in the early morning, as if in haste to slay, but at the close of the day, for God is longsuffering, slow to anger, and of great mercy; but in the cool of the evening, when the sun was setting upon Eden’s last day of glory, when the dews began to weep for man’s misery, when the gentle winds with breath of mercy breathed upon the hot cheek of fear; when earth was silent that man might meditate, and when heaven was lighting her evening lamps, that man might have hope in darkness; then, and not till then, forth came the offended Father. Adam flies and seeks to avoid that very God whom he had once met with confidence, and with whom he had the sweetest fellowship, talking with him as a man talketh with his friend. And now hear the voice of God as he cries, “Adam, where art thou?” Oh! there were two truths in that short sentence. It showed that Adam, was lost, or God would not have needed to ask him where he was. Until we have lost a thing, we need not enquire about it; but when God said, “Adam, where art thou?” it was the voice of a shepherd enquiring for his lost sheep; or better still, the cry of a loving parent asking for his child that has ran away from him, “Where art thou?” There are but three words, but they contain the dread doctrine of our lost estate. When God asks, “Where art thou?” man must be lost. When God himself enquires where he is, he must be lost in a more awful sense than you and I have as yet fully known. But then, there was also mercy here, for it showed that God intended to have mercy upon man, or else he would have let him remain lost, and would not have said, “Where art thou?” Men do not enquire for what they do not value.

It was so convicting when the Holy Spirit showed me that I, too, think I am hiding behind a figurative shower curtain. Except I am not playing a game of peek-a-boo I am hiding in shame and scared to face the one who loves me so much, who finds value in me and seeks me out, who does not come to smite me but to meet me where I am and restore me.

Being able to see how the Lord was with Adam and Eve at that moment has grown me in many areas, including when it comes to my wife and children. I took some deep reflection and asked myself am I running out to smite them if they fall short, or am I embracing them, dealing with the action but providing grace and the comfort to know that nothing they have done should make them feel as though they should hide and know I will come looking for them.

So, I ask, what are you seeking today?
Frank D