It was a few weeks ago now that Rebecca and I attended the “Story of God” session that I began writing about. There were two points I was trying to make but ran out of gas.
1. The importance of the “Tree of the knowledge of good and evil”:
In the first “story” in the bible, Adam and Eve are enjoying this blissful situation in the Garden where they have everything they need and enjoy a literally personal relationship with God. It’s all well and good but the thing that stood out to me for the first time in a profound way was how very important the “tree” was. Smarter people than me could and do go on for ever about this concept but I’ll just say it like I see it…
God designed a perfect environment for Adam and Eve but they didn’t understand the concept of “perfect”. He gave them everything they needed and MOST of what they wanted. In the garden he installed a single tree and instructed them not to mess with it. What he was really installing was the element of choice, without which, the rest of it is really just bla bla bla. Think about it…without the ability to choose between right and wrong, good and evil, paper or plastic etc..we just live in an automatic world and we never understand the difference between Gods love and provision….and the opposite. The tree had to exist or none of this makes any sense. The fact that they end up choosing the tree over God speaks to our inability as humans to relish and cherish the rest of the garden. Why do we constantly choose the road we know God is not on? Why do we overlook the countless ways God is blessing us and caring for us? For me, understanding that even Adam and Eve were foolish enough to choose the wrong path helps me understand that I too am unable to fully adopt the truth. The truth is that God loves me and cares for me in unimaginable ways. The truth is that he wants what is best for me….The truth ALSO is that I choose death over LIFE on a pretty regular basis.
The Great News is that even though I don’t recognize God in all things as I should, he recognizes me in all things, and he has rescued me and restored me completely. Without the tree (choice), none of this would be relevant because we would merely be living in a world that didn’t require that we choose God. The problem with that world is that we can’t really love him without 1st choosing him, or at least not choosing him and then realizing that it was stupid.
2. “Once again Rocky helps me unpack some good stuff…”
I love Rocky. I love every one of them and I don’t love one more than the other. Most Rocky fans scoff at certain of the movies and praise others but I don’t. That said, Rocky III came to mind as we were contemplating the “hope” that God has for us at the conference a few weeks ago. I’ve watched Rocky III 500 times and each time, I know what’s going to happen…The Russian guy is going to kill Apollo Creed in the ring. The thing is, I always watch it and HOPE that Apollo kicks his rear end and saves the day! I know it’s elementary but I liken my hope to the way God hopes for us. He knows the end game but he engages all the same, and sincerely wants what is best for us. Apollo didn’t have to make the foolish decision to get in the ring with that monster and nobody is forcing me to go down paths that God is not on. I choose these paths, but all along whether I realize it or not, I have a God that is hoping that I would choose him. Apollo could’ve chosen any number of paths that would’ve saved his life and if he would have, he would have been with us for Tommy Gun!…but that’s another story:)
In all seriousness…
About 10 weeks ago we were asked to care for a new born that tested positive for drugs while here mom got treatment for her addiction. We picked baby Sunrise up at the hospital on day four of her life and have been loving her like our own each day since. Sunrise went to live with her aunt on Wednesday. Rebecca and I are experiencing the fullness of “bitter” and “sweet” right now. I’m trying to let the whole thing breath for a moment so that I can understand all that we are supposed to have learned.
I look forward to sharing the “Sunrise” journey with you soon:)