Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Garden Redeemed

Enjoy these spring, post-Easter reflections from my friend -- Cynthia Schuette, of Midland, Michigan:

Have you ever found yourself coming full circle?

Maybe after several -- perhaps even dozens of years -- you’ve returned to your old elementary school to read a book to second-graders. Maybe you’re sitting in the old high-school bleachers, watching the younger crowd maneuver through life, and you’re thinking -- if I knew then what I know now . . . . Or, perhaps, you’re facing a familiar circumstance or trial and wondering if God is trying to tell you something.

Maybe He is.

Earlier this week, I was struck by the fact that Jesus was in the garden when Judas carried out Satan’s desire to betray Jesus to His enemies (John 13:27).

It was also in a garden, the Garden of Eden, where Satan’s desire to derail Adam and Eve succeeded. He tempted them to go against God’s will and eat the forbidden fruit. What wicked glee Satan must have had as he watched the first human beings God created turn their backs on Him.

Even in this dark garden moment, God, the lover of your soul and mine, had a plan. One day, the last Adam would do what the first Adam did not. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus would choose the will of His Father over His own (Mark 14:36) and through the cross defeat the downward spiral to death. Through the cross, death has lost its victory -- forever.

This, of course, is the overriding source of joy and hope for those who believe. However, the message is also this: My God -- your God -- is in the redeeming business. He can bring you a second chance -- again. He can and will help you through it. How do I know this? I know that my Redeemer lives, and He loves the garden, too.

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