Nobody needs me to tell them that we aren’t in Eden anymore. Our expulsion from the Garden is as obvious in 2020 as Dorothy’s departure from Kansas when she opens the door from her sepia-toned home and—in awe and wonder—sees the technicolored brilliance of Oz.
Of course, 2020 has had the opposite effect for many. In January we believed we were turning the page into another chapter just like the last. 2020 would be the year of vision! Then came spring, roaring like a lion—and not because of the weather. Soon we were all stuck inside our monochrome houses (literally and figuratively).
So no, nobody is confusing life in 2020 with the Garden of Eden. Many of us have simply done our best to carry on, hoping for better days ahead.
And yet, as far removed as we are from the Garden of Eden, the forbidden fruit is still in front of us, beautiful to the eye and ripe for the picking.
In the opening pages of Genesis, we read of God creating a good world. He forms Adam and Eve in his image and places them in the Garden to serve as stewards. He gives them license to eat from any tree in the garden, barring the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The fruit of this tree is strictly forbidden. As we all know, Adam and Eve fall to the allure of the tree (and lies of the serpent!).
Standing in the middle of God’s bountiful provisions, Adam and Eve believed that God had not given them enough. They believed God himself was not enough. Something apart from God needed to be had in order to find satisfaction.
We aren’t in a Garden of Paradise, not even close. Yet the temptation of the forbidden fruit is always before us: God is not enough. God has not given me enough. What I need can be found apart from God.
This is the story of the entire Bible. It is the story of your entire life. Will you take and eat the forbidden fruit or trust that God is enough for you?
Abraham left his home to wander in an unknown land. He ascended a hill to offer his promised son Isaac. He trusted that God would provide—that God was enough.
Rather than turning bitter, Joseph saw the mighty hand of God’s providence bending evil for good in the hardships he endured. The family of Israel was fed in famine. Joseph trusted that God was in control—that God was enough.
David stood before Goliath. He trusted that God was a mighty warrior—that God was enough.
Shadrach, Mesach, and Abednego did not fear the fiery furnace, but insisted that God was still God, whether or not he chose to deliver them. They trusted that God was good in all his ways—that God was enough.
Every moment of every day we are faced with this decision: will I trust that God is enough for me?
We all now the right answer to that question. The trick is whether or not we’ll walk it out.
The fountain of strength on this front is the wonderful work of God in Christ on our behalf. Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
If our Heavenly Father did not stop when the cost was the suffering of his own Son—if Jesus himself did not stop when his own suffering was the cost—how much more now can we count on God’s goodness to pour out on those he calls his children? How much more can we now count on the love of Jesus to overflow to his brothers and sisters—those he purchased with his own blood!
Adam and Eve lived under the shadow of countless trees with more than enough fruit to satisfy their appetites. We live under the shadow of the cross, where Christ’s body broke and his blood poured out for the reconciliation of the world.
Yes, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Eden anymore. In fact, it’s much more than a feeling! But the forbidden fruit is still within our reach. And it’s as seductive as ever. Therefore, we must all fight to keep our eyes fixed on our beautiful savior, the embodiment—the incarnation—of God’s “enoughness” for us.