Sometimes I find myself with thoughts and feelings and plans and questionsthat are difficult to wrap up into a few paragraphs. I spend time chewing and waiting on God to help satisfy me in what He is doing in my life. There are marks of my handwriting filling the pages of my journal and evidence of truths that spoke to me strewn throughout the margins of my Bible. This is when I know that God is doing His greatest work…. when I must dive in, seek out, and look back to piece it all together.
This most recent season of life has left me longing for the Garden. The Garden of perfect fellowship and wholeness. Eden, in all its majesty. Yet, when we turn to the right and to the left we find only brokenness. Mistrust. Selfishness. Greed. Destitution. Lies. People are desperate. How can we commune with our holy God in the way He designed when we are surrounded by a completely disjointed society- here in South Africa, there in America, and everywhere in between. Even in my own heart there is such a mess. Perfect peace feels far away, like such a distant thing of the past. I wonder what that Garden was like? Such freedom. The possibilities excite my soul. Lord, give me tastes of the Garden. This is my heart cry.
As this prayer leaves my lips, the most magnificent songs begin playing alongside every step I take. I have witnessed the Lord restoring Eden in my life. Jesus, of course, is the One that makes it remotely possible to enter into God’s presence. By His righteousness imparted to us, we are free to experience these glimpses of the Garden until one day when His Kingdom is fully restored. We will again walk in perfect fellowship with Him, darkness conquered, poverty eradicated, pain destroyed. Oh, how wonderful that must be! Until then, I hear Paul’s words in Philippians, “I am torn… I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body...” (1:23-24). I will stay, Lord. But strengthen my communion with You. Empower me with Your voice. Take hold of my heart. Let my eyes feast on Your glory. Give me glimpses of the Garden so that I do not lose sight of the crown that already adorns Your head. Thank you, that I can walk in Your presence. Please let others experience Your Light.
In the weeks after I prayed for the Garden to be restored in my life, I first began noticing a detachment of sorts, feeling distanced from raw human emotion. Bliss, excitement, and celebration bloomed in the form of worship and praise. Pain, despair, and heartache were wrapped in prayer and beckoning. My heart could do one of two things: adoration or intercession. It seems as if an attachment to this world and its activities has slowly dissolved into the overwhelming awareness that this is not my home. These ever-changing feelings of happiness or sadness, cheer or pain are not in control of the truth and are not the final verdict. Enter whatever Christianese ‘I am only passing through’ statement we can think of here, but then sit down, enter the presence of God, and allow your heart to grab onto that knowledge. Let the Lord wrap your heart so tightly in Him that you shut your eyes, and find yourself sitting in the Garden of Eden. Sun out, flowers blooming, breeze barely brushing your hair across your forehead. And the companionship of God fills you full. You care only about resting in His presence. You wish only to speak with Him. Now open your eyes and walk in that. Let your heart be moved to worship and your pain be sprawled out before the King.
God saw all that He had made and it was very good. He desires to be with us, in us, around us, and part of us. He longs for the day when we will be forever at the foot of His victorious throne, but believes in us to spread His glory into the hearts of his people while we walk this earth. How can we lead others out from hiding behind the bushes, ashamed and hurting? How can we guide them into walking alongside our Father once again? We must recognize the beauty of the Garden of Eden before the fall of man and seek hard to get back to it. Existing to be in union with God.
Let us find rest, energy, cleansing, and peace in Him. He is good, all the time.