It was a thoughtful conversation. We were standing together in our almost completed gymnasium. The area would also serve as our worship center in our new church building. Much time and lots of money had brought us to this day. Even more prayer. Everything was beautiful. It was state of the art and a welcome relief from the years of meeting in schools. The church had started with just my family and then grown to over 500.
Mr. Smith said we had done well. The sacrifice was worth the cost. And then he added, “We will need to be careful who we allow to use this space. Kids could tear this up in no time.”
I fully understood his concern, but was taken aback by the thought. We had not built a monument or a museum. We had built a church and facility that could be well utilized by the community. It was to be a tool, and tools get blemishes. Sometimes they break. Always, they show the strain of their use.
As I think back I am given to wonder if God must have felt like Mr. Smith when he created paradise and called it Eden. After all, he worked hard…so hard that he had to take a day of rest. The creative effort alone must have been exhausting. But when he finished, it was perfect. The waters were pure. The fruit tasty. The rays of the sun healthy. Even the relationship God had with man was good.
I wonder if an angel might have come alongside God and said, “Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Your best work ever, God. So are you sure you want to put humanity in the middle of that garden? You know they could destroy it in no time.” If that conversation took place, I am sure that it was heartfelt. Real concerns.
What touches my heart, however, is that God, knowing what would come of his perfect creation, moved forward with his plan. He knew the possibilities. He knew the outcome. Yet he didn’t hesitate. He so wanted a relationship with us that he took the risk and opened the eyes of mankind to who he was and what he could do.
And we blew it. In my favorite musical, Camelot, Sir Lancelot, the bold and self-assured knight, sings, “If I’d been made the partner of Eve, we’d be in Eden still.” I harbor no such illusions. If I had been made the partner of Eve, we’d probably of gotten kicked out much sooner.
Regardless, the same loving God who gave us the chance, gives us another. His heart is still in paradise. He still desires to live with us there. How grateful are people of the Christian faith that Jesus has secured our “re-entry.” By his death and resurrection, we not only are promised a return to paradise, we are promised a return to a new and improved paradise. After all, where we are going the evil that existed in the first Eden will be removed for all eternity. No more chance of a mess up.
Thank you God for trying. Thank you for taking a risk on us. Thank you for having a plan to keep us close. And thank you for not worrying that we might mess up you good work.