And YHWH called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9
Where – God is looking for you. That fact is fundamental to human being. God considers you an object of His concern. He is seeking you out. If this were not the case, you would be nothing more than the random accumulation of molecules, an accident of evolutionary progress. If God were not the Great Hunter searching for Man, none of us would mean anything at all. Without God’s concern for you, the only real solution to your accidental existence in the universe is suicide.
This question, so routinely overlooked in our sweep past the details, is THE question of our existence. “Where are you?” God asks each of us. It is the first question of existence. You will remember that the Hebrew word here is ‘ayyeh; not a word about location but a word about relationship. God is not asking our geographical position. He is asking each of us why we are not alongside Him where we belong. He is asking why we are not acting as He intended us to act in perfect harmony with our created design and in syncopation with His rhythm for the cosmos. We were supposed to be partners in the grand scheme of glorifying Him in His creation. Why aren’t we right beside Him?
“To the Biblical mind man is not only a creature who is constantly in search of himself but also a creature God is constantly in search of. Man is a creature in search of meaning because there is a meaning in search of him, because there is God’s beseeching question, ‘Where art thou?’” Abraham Heschel’s penetrating insight throws new light on this seemingly innocuous question. Now you and I must answer God. Where are we?
What would life be like if God were not in search of us? Would anything really matter? Qohelet (The Teacher), author of Ecclesiastes, describes the reality of life without God’s question. All is emptiness, emptiness. What difference does it make if I succeed or fail, if I am rich or poor, a genius or a dunce. Death swallows everything. I cease to be and memory of my being passes into the darkness of time. I return to the dust. Better I was never born than to live knowing that my life means nothing at all in the great abyss.
But if God searches for me, everything changes. If I am the object of divine concern, if God truly expects me to be a partner with Him in His grand scheme, then my being matters. It is not for naught. I matter because I matter to God. Now I can seek my own meaning because His meaning finds me.
Unless you have answered the question, you have no idea where you are. The answer must be directed to God for He is the one asking. The answer is:
Topical Index: where, the question, human being, Genesis 3:9, hineni, ‘ayyeh
 Abraham Heschel, Between God and Man, pp. 238-239.