I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately: how we humans continually try to make our lives…
as clutterless and simplified,
as pain-free and healthy,
as secure and free of perplexing and unanswerable questions as possible.
We seek perfect relationships,
perfect houses and schools,
I have to remind myself in my own Don Quixote quest: It ain’t gonna happen.
Because this world ain’t paradise.
Remember, long ago we were expelled from paradise? Cherubim with flaming swords guarded the entrance so that no one could come in.
And ever since that awful day, we all have sought to re-enter paradise. Whether we’re aware of it or not, our quest for paradise is demonstrated by seeking happiness and pain-free relationships, through religions, philosophies, the quest for wealth or celebrity. This is our attempt to return to the days before our intimate fellowship with God was broken.
Every time I hear someone ask the question, “How could a loving God permit such suffering in the world?” I imagine I hear the echo of Adam and Eve’s anguished cries outside the portal to Paradise.
I think we have, in our very DNA, the memory of how life could have, should have been. And we yearn for that unreachable, historic reality.
Jesus Himself entered this fallen world as a baby and experienced what we experience. Jesus did not try to make this present world paradise for His disciples. (It certainly wasn’t paradise for Him!) He said, “In this world you will have trouble…”(John 16:33)
I remind myself: Dena, don’t expect this present world to be pain-free and untroubled. No matter how mature and kind you become, no matter how much you learn of God and submit to Him, no matter how much you give to others in life-giving words and good actions, you cannot transfer Eden’s perfection, characterized by sinless, unfettered, intimate fellowship with God to your current circumstances.
I tell myself: Dena, expect things to go wrong each day. Trust God. Walk by faith in God’s promise of unfailing love and presence. Be encouraged by these words:
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they might have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” (Rev. 22:14 NIV Bible)
That will be Paradise.