Saturday, November 26, 2022

Living Between Two Gardens - Learning to Wrestle Well


Rev. 21:5 - "I am making everything new! ...these words are trustworthy and true."

Learning to wrestle well.  Lysa T. says it best when she says, "...we're living between two gardens; God will make everything right."

I am sitting down this morning with my cup of coffee trying to sneak in a few minutes of reading before heading out with the girls to shop Black Friday.  It's our second year of doing this, so I guess that now makes it a tradition.

We suit up, head to Target, then grab some breakfast before hitting the next stop on our whirlwind morning of fun.  

It sometimes feels like we are between two gardens - a beginning and an end.  I'm using a poor analogy here of comparing fighting the crowds of Black Friday (a beginning of chaos) to an ending of restoration and healing (coming home "satisfied" with your purchases).  But it's all I got this morning...

Reading from Lysa's writings this morning, we are pondering the story of Adam and Eve.  Why would an Almighty God create our hearts for the perfection of living in a garden of Eden when He knows that ultimately, because of sin, we would have to leave?

To quote Lysa, "I mean, once Adam and Eve sinned, couldn’t God strip the craving for perfection out of their hearts? Yes, He certainly could have done that. But to strip out the cause of our disappointment would also rob us of the glorious hope of where we’re headed.  Remember, this is a love story, and we will never appreciate or desire the hope of our True Love if lesser loves don’t disappoint. The piercing angst of disappointment in everything on this side of eternity creates a discontent with this world and pushes us to long for God Himself — and for the place where we will finally walk in the garden with Him again."

Wow.  This totally coincides with the first devotion I read this morning talking about addicts.  How we sometimes, as Parents, have to let our children fail and face difficult circumstances in order for them to become better, to heal, and to develop character.

It's the same here.  If God strips out all of the disappointments in our lives, He would be robbing us of the HOPE ahead of us.  In order to appreciate the beauty that lies ahead, we must face disappointments, failures, and times when we will fall.

In the book of Revelation, God talks about restoration and the HOPE that lies ahead:

"Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:3–5)


Did you catch that?  Everything on this side of Heaven is death, mourning, crying, or pain.  Those things in here on Earth, in a natural state of sin bring on human things like anxiety, sorrow, grief, depression, and so much more.

But ... how lucky are we?  This is just the "middle."

Rev. 21 teaches us that there is HOPE for the ending, and that in this middle space we are just learning to "wrestle well."  Learning to deal with all the things that sin and this world bring with it.

Lysa says it best this way, "In this restored garden of Eden the curse will be lifted and perfection will greet us like a long-lost friend. There will be no gap between our expectations and experiences. We won’t be disappointed or live disappointed. Our feelings and faith will nod in agreement. We will return to a purity of emotion where we can experience the best of our hearts working in tandem with the absolutes of truth."

There is some very deep wisdom there.  I don't know about you.  But the last 15 days have had me wrestling my expectations against my experiences.  I have been disappointed.  My feelings have been wrestling with my faith.  

I'm not sure I can even imagine a place where my heart works in tandem with truth.

"We won’t need to wrestle well, because we will be well. Whole. Complete. Assured. Secure. Certain. Victorious. And brought full circle in our understanding of truth."

I'm looking forward to that glorious day.  Right now, this morning, my heart is not in tandem with the truth.  I am very blessed to have a circle around me of wisdom and love, but I still wrestle with death, mourning, anxiety, and other things a world of sin brings to us.

As I sometimes do, I am leaving this morning with a Southern Gospel song.  I find God draws me back to my musical roots when I draw close to the Cross.  Something about these people and the music just speaks to my soul.

Enjoy the last drops of Thanksgiving 2022.  Before you know it, we will be transforming into the Christmas season.

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