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Mercy in The Garden

July 3, 2009

adam-eve-stainedglassThere is a tender moment in the Garden of Eden that I discovered two years ago.  Of course, it has been there all along, but I didn’t realize its significance until my world fell apart.  In Genesis 3:7 we find Adam and Eve sewing together leaves to hide their nakedness.  They had broken God’s command concerning the tree of life and now they are feeling vulnerable and exposed.  The Lord finds them hiding in His garden and the first confession of sin is recorded. 

It is a somber moment when the Lord explains to Adam and Eve the consequences of their sin.   Their actions would result in physical pain and emotional struggle for the rest of their lives.  Not only that, but it would be passed on to their children as well.

But then, in the midst of that painful accounting of their sin, Genesis 3:21 reveals God doing something totally unexpected: “He made them garments and clothed them.”

Although Adam and Eve would have to experience many of the consequences of their sin, they were not going to have to walk in shame. The very One they sinned against was now sewing them clothes to cover their embarrassment.  I wonder how they felt, watching the Creator of heaven and earth sewing their garments?  Sewing by hand isn’t quick.  As God mended, did they sit in silence?

When Jeff’s pornography addiction was uncovered, our family experienced many painful consequences.  We had to step away from ministry, a loss of both our passion and our livelihood.  The financial consequences began to mount as we tried to sell our home in a depressed market, find new jobs in a down economy and relocate to a new state. 

But even though our world was crumbling, I could clearly see God’s hand of provision.  In the previous year the Lord had built up our savings account in unexpected ways.  We had assumed this money was intended to help in the transition to full-time church planting.  God knew otherwise.  He was sewing together our own set of garments to provide security in the midst of our upcoming crisis.  He knew that our world was about to be turned upside down.  Yet, rather than let us experience the full consequences, he demonstrated his tender mercy. 

Over the last year, Jeff and I have seen His tender mercies time and time again. When a friend calls to see how we are doing, when a job offer is made, when a new opportunity arises…we know that the Lord doesn’t treat us as we deserve but in light of His mercy and grace.  Jeff and I recognize that from our mess, He is sewing new life.

“…and yet our God, you have punished us less than our sins have deserved…” Ezra 9:13

One Comment
  1. July 4, 2009 3:32 pm

    It is amazing to see God working as we proceed through challenging times as you discuss here. Often when God has us in an intense time of sanctification, we are in the best place possible to be learning who God is, and what he did on the cross through Christ.

    When Christ was on his way to the cross, he asked the Father to let him free from the penalty. When the Father said no, Christ responded, “Not my will, but your will be done.”

    When I lost my job due to pornography, I was quickly reminded of God’s grace to me. Emotional pain and financial stress came quickly. It was originally not my will that these ‘trials’ should come upon me; but it felt so good to have my self-sufficient legs swept out from under me. Often it takes a trial where we become powerless for us to see the Lord for who he truly is. “Count it all joy my brethren, when you encounter trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-3.

    It is a joy to be made perfect in Christ. This is especially true when we see how different His perfection is from what we once viewed as perfect.

    -Ben T.

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