Beginnings

Going anywhere with my granddaddy Russie (his real name was Russell) painted a big smile on my face. I didn’t care where we went, I just wanted to go. I especially liked going with him to the Sears and Roebuck store. They had everything anyone could possibly want, but most importantly they had a candy counter. While Russie talked to the salesman, I pictured the smiling lady behind the counter shaking out a small white bag, plunging her scoop into the treat-filled bin, and filling the sack with enough candy to last long enough to get me home. I was confident that after Russie made his purchase he would take me over to the counter, lift me up, and let me make my sweet selection. I could choose whatever I wanted. For that one glorious moment in time, the four-year-old girl too small to see over the counter would be in complete control! 

While I anxiously waited, I inched closer and closer to the candy counter. My mind raced back and forth trying to determine which candy would fill my sack. That’s when I made my too-embarrassing-to-forget mistake. I reached up and grabbed my granddaddy’s hand. I was tired of waiting on him so I gave it a slight tug. I looked up to see if he was fully appreciating my impatience. However, instead of seeing those familiar horn-rimmed eyes looking down at me, I saw the face of a confused stranger. I had grabbed hold of the wrong hand. Fortunately, the kind man just smiled as I realized my mistake. I immediately located my Russie and ran to him. He had seen the whole thing and let out a belly laugh as he scooped me up with his strong arms. 

My mistake isn’t unique to me. Some of you may have made that same innocent mistake. It’s been on repeat since the beginning of time. However, Adam and Eve’s mistake wasn’t so innocent. They decided to join hands with a detestable stranger. Their desire to make their own choices and control their own lives tugged them away from all the good things God had already given them.

To understand the severity of their choice, one must fully comprehend what they gave up for the right to run their own lives. God had meticulously created a brand new, perfect world. Fresh, tasty food free for the taking. Pure clean water. Air that held the fragrance of luscious blooms. Animals of every kind, sweet enough to pet. Flopping fish. Running rivers. Soaring eagles. It was a perfect world ready to be explored and enjoyed by the ones who breathed God’s breath of life.

Truly, it was a world filled with miraculous beginnings. God humbly stamped it with what we might call an understatement. It was so much better than a mere “GOOD”. It was magnificent! Then, even better than a candy-counter world filled with delightfully delicious delicacies, God gave Adam and Eve the pleasure of His company. 

Songwriter Luther G. Presley penned words perfectly capturing, in my mind anyway, exactly what Adam and Eve gave up:

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses
And He walks with me and He talks with me
And He tells me I am his own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known
He speaks and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet, the birds hush their singing
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing
And He walks with me and He talks with me
And He tells me I am his own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

Adam and Eve suffered the devastating consequences of their choice. They had to leave their perfect life in a perfect garden.  Their new world would be one filled with pain and toiling. I don’t want to imagine how heartbroken they must have been. They exchanged unimaginable blessings and an intimate relationship with God for the right to chart their own course. 

I’ve ridiculed both of them for that decision, but then I have to stop and realize that if I had been Eve, I would have made the same mistake. How do I know that? Because I’m still tempted to let go of the hand that made me. I focus on worldly sweet treats and feel-good emotions instead of listening to what the Spirit says. Yet, EVERY … SINGLE … TIME … that I tell Him I’m sorry for going my own way, God scoops me up and tells me I’m loved. 

God began the world and created us because He wanted someone to love, and He wanted to be loved. Spending time with Him expresses our love for Him. Recognizing His love for us teaches us how to love others. It even teaches us how to love ourselves. God uniquely made us in His image just as our children are made in ours. The older my son gets, the more he looks like his dad. The longer we walk and talk with Jesus, the more our thoughts and actions begin to look like His. 

Here on Perfection Road during the month of January, we will be talking and praying about “Beginnings”. God’s presence and perfect creation “in the beginning” continues to offer hints as to what life will be like after Jesus comes back. But, let’s not jump ahead of ourselves. Next week we’ll see how God loved His children enough to reestablish a relationship with them. 

This first week of January, for at least one glorious moment in time, let’s spend it thanking God for such a fine beginning. If His mere words can create a show this spectacular, then surely we can trust Him with our lives.

“When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

(Psalm 8:3-9 NIV)

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