Encouragement for a lifelong journey of faith

Tag: Adam and Eve

November 2, 2020 — Adam and Eve alone in the garden

Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden - Life, Hope & Truth

Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt

Read Genesis 3:1-12

The serpent said to the woman, “Surely you will not die, for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will open and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the tree produced fruit that was good for food, was attractive to the eye, and was desirable for making one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate it. She also gave some of it to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God moving about in the orchard at the breezy time of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the orchard. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” The man replied, “I heard you moving about in the orchard, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” And the Lord God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

More thoughts for meditation

During “Covid,” the terrible new season we will never forget, we have spent a long time alone in our respective “gardens.” Most of them have been way east of Eden. A lot of us have been stuffing ourselves on the horrible fruit of isolation. We are blinded by the delusive tricks of the time until we think isolating will save us from feeling isolated. The isolated isolate. A couple of weeks ago, one of my friends confessed about the same thing while we were worshiping in an actual garden, “When Covid first started I called all my friends and commiserated. Now I don’t call anyone.” By the time it is over, will we have any relationships left?

We’re like Adam and Eve, aren’t we? God comes looking for them in the garden and can’t even find them. Can’t leave them alone for a minute; they are like toddlers with a glass of chocolate milk headed for the berber carpet, not the kitchen table. “Where are you?” he calls. Spiritual blindness is curled around their awareness like a snake. They are cut off from the real garden by their limited vision – vision confined to their sin-soaked desires and their fear of the naked reality of their condition. Right when they need to trust, they stop calling – and they barely answer God, he has to look under a bush for them.

In our present awful circumstance which is going to last ALL WINTER and then some, no one intends to let isolation make them isolate. We don’t do virtual meetings because “I just can’t take any more zoom.” We don’t reach out because, “I just don’t feel up to it.” We stop doing all the self-care that seemed so relevant a few months ago because, “It is not really working and I may as well hunker down.” We rationalize, we justify, we make excuses because we all have built in to us the basic sense that we should do good and avoid evil. No one chooses any wrong action because it is wrong, for the wrongness itself, but rather because they’ve convinced themselves it is good in some way. As C.S. Lewis put it in Mere Christianity:

“You can be good for the mere sake of goodness: you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness. You can do a kind action when you are not feeling kind and when it gives you no pleasure, simply because kindness is right; but no one ever did a cruel action simply because cruelty is wrong—only because cruelty was pleasant or useful to him.”

Suggestions for action

In the moments leading up to our sinful choice—”I’m not going to connect, I’m going to keep drinking” or “I’m going to hang on to the wicked thing my Covid-crazed friend said as a reason to be alone and sulk” —we cloud our thinking with sentiments like “I deserve some me time” or “They don’t need to see me this stressed.” We tell ourselves that what we’re choosing is really good. We create a new mental world where we’ve declared a new right and wrong—basically, in which we’re God. Not that we think we’re God — but that’s the reality of it, in effect.

The great blessing is, after we fall, we often have that sensation that Adam and Eve had: our eyes are opened. We realize what sad and pathetic excuses we’ve made to ourselves; we see the things to which we blinded ourselves. The fog lifts and we see what we’ve really chosen, and what we’ve really rejected: “Yes, I could have called my poor sister instead of binging on TV and ice cream again.”

Thank God this chance for repentance always rolls around! This eye-opening, fog-lifting, coming-back-to-reality experience is nothing other than the grace of God penetrating the cloud we’ve put ourselves like a clear voice calling us out of our isolation, calling us back to relating to our Creator. We can turn away from the little world we’ve made for ourselves and turn toward God.

Pray: Open my eyes lest I become isolated from you, Lord.

Today is All Souls Day. This might be the most-abused part of the triduum. So if you have not checked out the meaning of All Saints Day, check it out at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.

Add to the laments on the page some people are using to pray! We’ll have a book of Covid-19 Lamentations!

August 15, 2016 — Do Not Be Afraid

Today’s Bible reading 

After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” — Genesis 15:1

More thoughts for meditation

What does it mean to be afraid? The dictionary defines “being afraid” as the experience of being anxious, fearful, frightened, unwilling or reluctant to do something because of presumed consequences, worried about one’s safety or well-being, being scared of what may occur. Fear, whether defined as a noun, verb or adjective, is definitely part of the human experience in some way at some point. But was it always that way? Does it always have to be like this? This week, we are going to consider what it means to “not be afraid,” according to how God created us, is re-creating us.

As we begin our journey of understanding what it means to not be afraid, let us go back to the beginning. In Genesis, there is no mention of being afraid until after Adam and Eve first sinned in the Garden of Eden. They ate of the fruit God instructed them not to; and when they heard His voice, they were afraid and hid (Genesis 3:8-9). This suggests that because of sin, fear became a new kind of reality for humanity. Because of sin, our brains became altered to perceive and filter information in a way God never intended for us to live. Even though sin’s ripple effect has brought fear (reasons to fear) into our lives, into our instinctual nature to react in ways that keep us disconnected from God and each other, God has continually pursued us to reassure us (redeem us) to know we do not need to be afraid. God found Adam and Eve hiding and made garments from animal skin to clothe them, so they would not feel dismayed in their naked state of knowing something went terribly wrong. This week, we are going to highlight how God, throughout the Bible, has been pursuing humanity and reassuring us that He knows things went wrong and He is intervening to set things right.

Hundreds of times throughout the Bible, God says to humanity, in one way or another, “Do not be afraid.” Such repetitive volume suggests God obviously recognizes our propensity to fear as well as the things that elicit fear in us and does not ignore it. God’s first recorded statement of this kind was spoken to Abram, while God told Abram of His plan and promise to use Abram’s linage to redeem humanity. To Abram, later named Abraham, this seemed preposterous and even death defying to carry out. From the get-go, as in the Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve, it takes something that only God can provide to empower us to rise up and follow God’s lead with no hesitation, no worry, no fear. For Adam and Eve, God provided garments of animal skin to help them feel less inhibited; but for Abraham, God provided Himself. God said, “I am your shield.” For the rest of this week, we are going to review six other places in Scripture where God says to humanity, “Do not be afraid,” demonstrating how God meets us amid our fears and disheartening situations to prove His faithfulness and unfailing love for us.

Suggestions for Action

How do you experience being anxious, fearful, frightened, unwilling or reluctant to do something because of presumed consequences, worried about your safety or well-being, being scared of what may occur? You are not alone in any form of this experience. Sin has caused all of us to feel afraid, to believe God is not for us but against us.

God’s recorded words to Abram (and those many other similar statements through Scripture) are passed down to us for the specific purpose to not only reassure us that God acknowledges our human experience of being afraid but that He responds to it with the best kind of comfort – Himself. God spoke to Abram directly, using his name, as he specifically prompted him to not be afraid. Use Genesis 15:1 as a direct statement from God to you – insert your name: “Do not be afraid, _______. I am your shield, your very great reward.”

Repeat it to yourself throughout your day, especially when you feel the onset of anxiety, worry or insecurity that things are not going right. God is your shield, your very great reward.