“A Time to be Born”
He who is not busy being born Is busy dying.
In the Beginning
The Garden of Eden is where it all began, man and woman dwelling amongst an array of trees, roses, birds, butterflies, and bees dancing in the dappled sunlight. Cocooned in Paradise, Adam and Eve were protected by their loving God, as long as they obeyed His direction.
I have often wondered why God chose the Garden as the beginning of life. Why did He place his favorite creation there? I imagine God wanted to protect them by creating a paradise they would never want to leave, similar to the way parents try to keep their children safe in their homes by shielding them from the reality of the harsh world. Like innocent children, Adam and Eve were not aware of the cruel environment outside the life of the Garden. Eventually however, the Tempter entered and proved too great a trickster for their mortal souls. Soon Adam and Eve suffered the hard lessons of their choices and were cast out of the garden. They foolishly made their decision without consulting their Creator. Prior to eating the forbidden fruit, they weren’t even aware of their own nakedness (Gen. 2:25); they had no shame.
When my children were toddlers, we enjoyed the
“A Time to be Born”
nightly ritual of the “naked-run.” After their baths, they romped through the house while we chased them. They giggled and squealed as their squatty legs ran as fast as they could move! Without fearing judgement, their freedom of expression revealed their sweet naivety, which is one of the many endearing qualities of children. They had no shame of their nakedness. But like Adam and Eve, all children must grow up and learn about life beyond the safety of their home. They must learn how fragile their innocence is and how easily it can be lost. When they no longer have the security of their parents’ protection, they must learn through their own actions that life’s choices come with consequences.
After eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17), Adam and Eve’s actions revealed that temptation and evil exists in the world. Their consciousness came into being when they rebelled against God. They were exposed and felt shame. Their journey, much like ours, began when they fell from grace. Like children who go astray, we make choices every day that cast us into dark places. When we find our way back to the love and protection of our Creator, we return to grace. And when we do, like the prodigal son, we are welcomed with open arms!
“A Time to Die”
Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, It only saps today of its strength.
Fear and Worry
As a little girl, I was fearful and worried. I didn’t know about God and His loving ways. I was apprehensive about the unknown and feared the rejection, judgement, and anger of my parents. And if that was not enough, I feared heights, doctors, dogs, and crowds of people. I tried to overcome my fears by wearing a mask of courage and laughing a lot. On the exterior, I seemed like a happy-go-lucky child, but internally I suffered anxieties. My mother viewed feelings as weak. So, fearing her rejection, I turned inward and hid my fears. Both my parents doubted the existence of a loving God because they had no faith to lean on. They didn’t know how to show love because they didn’t know about the love of God who teaches us to love unconditionally. They were closed off to the idea of surrendering to a higher power and were filled with the weeds of anxiety, depression, and anger. Sadly, I believe they had no one to love or comfort them either.
God tells us in 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love: but perfect love casts out fear...” (NASB) Love and trust in God help us co-create peace. By trusting Jesus as the “weed-eater” of our souls we demonstrate
“A Time to Die”
faith in His power and find courage to move through the debris of our fears and into the light of love. “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Matthew 14:27 (NIV) As we learn from scripture, Jesus is near when we fear. When we falter in our faith, or let our imaginations run wild with apprehension, Jesus frees us by releasing our worries and letting us know that no matter what we are going through, it’s going to be okay because He is with us. No longer drowning in fear, we can experience joy and comfort because He is there to guide us through the rough waters of fear we are facing. By taking up the cross and following God, we are blessed to live and grow in the illuminating light of His love rather than fear. We are blessed to become agents of peace in our own life and relationships.
When fear and worry consume our minds, they leave little room for the light of God to enter in. With energy drained, we tend to view life circumstances from a worst-case-scenario and lose hope. By obsessing over worries and fears, our minds become overrun with anxiety and choke out our peaceful state of being. In this state of fear and worry, we are unable to experience God’s wonderous gifts of love, compassion, hope, forgiveness, and peace.
Faith, above all, energizes and magnifies, where fear and worry paralyze and cripple. Faith brings us together in love and compassion, where fear separates and divides. Faith draws us closer to God and gives us the courage to face our fears with relentless perseverance. Fear moves us away from our Creator and into darkness, where we suffer in solitude and despair. When we’ve faltered in the midst of fear and found faith, we’ve journeyed with God because through the dark tunnel of fear, He lights the way, and by doing so, darkness is transformed into light. Just as Jesus’ death became joy with the resurrection, God’s presence turns every darkness to light.
By living in His light, we can be sure we are resting in peace rather than the turmoil of fear or worry. “So do not fear, for I am with you...” Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
When a parent consoles a child who is afraid of monsters under the bed, the parent says, “Do not fear, I am with you.” God speaks to us the same way. When we trust Him as a child trusts a parent, we are relived of our anxieties. But only in trust and belief may our fears be comforted and soothed. Our worry worn minds let us know that we are not trusting God enough to steer the boat. James 1:6 states “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (NIV)
By trusting and listening to God in fearful moments, we can be sure he will direct us. Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”(NIV) Jesus reassures us that when we live in the kingdom of God’s love, we have nothing to fear because fear is the opposite of Love. Love cannot fear, and fear cannot love. Perfect love casts out fear, and when we love one another, love
“A Time to Die”
ourselves, and love God, fear evaporates. Faith and love leads us through the darkest hour of our need and His word will guide and counsel us along the way. We are never alone because He will not forsake us. Whether or not we have been perfected in love makes no difference to God; He accepts us for who we are and what we are in the moment. He loves us unconditionally, and when we love and surrender to Him with our whole heart, trusting in His word, fears and worries wash away, and faith and love reside.