The Garden and the Wilderness

Peer through the trees into Chapter 3 of the first Old Testament book, Genesis. Observe Adam and Eve frolicking in the Garden of Eden. The lush garden’s glory would make you gasp with its Elysium sights, scents, and sounds.  Its delectable fruit drips care-free pleasure. Even God delights in His daily time in this new paradise. His favorite part, of course, is communing with Adam and Eve, His magnum opus. Surely here, of all places,  perfection would forever prevail. What with naked companionship, lavish provisions, fulfilling occupation, and complete protection, all in the cool of the day.

Adam and Eve are smack in the middle of God’s will, this is plan A.

Yet deceit, blame, foreboding, and rebellion take the day. One sad day death draped Eden.

Now shade your forehead with your hand and squint across the desert landscape into chapter 3 of the first New Testament book, Matthew. Observe John in the howling wind of the Judean wilderness. The scorching sun beats down mercilessly on the parched landscape.  John’s gaunt, leathery body dons an old loincloth. It is covered with pulsing stings and infected scrapes. Foraging under jagged rocks for sparse locusts and honey is a painful, often frustrating occupation. The surrounding silence is deafening. No wife, no friend. The inner doubts are thunderous. He mumbles to himself to keep from going mad.  A roaring fire burns in his heart. Its flame chaps his cracked lips as he hoarsely roars, “Repent,” often to a sneering audience. “Bear fruits worthy of repentance,” he begs desperately. Fruit? Here?

One hot day, his wild eyes stared in disbelief. He HAD gone mad! God walked towards him smiling a warm smile that flooded his doubts  and refreshed his heart. John  threw himself at His feet and sobbed. Jesus tenderly cupped His cousin’s foul-smelling face, now covered with grungy, matted hair and muddy tears. Jesus convinced John to baptize Him. The heavens roared open, the Spirit descended on Jesus, and the Father expressed complete approval and pleasure.

John is smack in the middle of God’s will. This is plan B.

Now forgiveness, reconciliation, freedom, and life reign. Here is cool water for the dehydrated soul.  The death drape is rent.

3 thoughts on “The Garden and the Wilderness”

  1. I wrestle with this concept. Is this plan B? But “in the beginning was the Word” says John. It seems like I was taught that “the Word” is the Bible….so this whole story, this whole Plan B, was from the beginning? I am not arguing with you, I am just perplexed by this paradox. Thanks for the read – so fun to peer across the desert with you. =)


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