Posts tagged ‘Circumstances’

God Is With Us

File:Johann Wenzel Peter - Adam and Eve in the earthly paradise.jpg
Credit: “Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden by Johann Wenzel Peter (c. 1815) / Wikimedia

God has a funny way of defying the expectations people put on His presence.

When God appears to the first two humans, Adam and Eve, we find Him searching for them by “walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8). But this paradisical picture soon turns ugly when He finds out they have fallen into sin by eating fruit from His forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In punishment, God casts the couple out of the cool and lush Garden of Eden with a warning to Adam that now “by the sweat of your brow you will eat your food” (Genesis 3:19). The refreshing cool of the garden is shut off to humans and exchanged for a sweltering sweat. And it feels like God has barred humanity from His presence.

But He hasn’t.

In Genesis 18, we meet a man named Abraham who is “near the great trees of Mamre…sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day” (Genesis 18:1). Because “the cool of the day” of the Garden of Eden has gone, Abraham tries to shade himself by some trees and with his tent in “the heat of the day.” But in the middle of this sweaty scene, we read:

The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. (Genesis 18:1)

It turns out that God shows up not only in the cool of the day, but in the heat of the day – not only in a garden, but in a desert.

Too often, we harbor unexamined assumptions about how God’s presence has manifested itself in our lives:

“I got new job because God was with me.”
“I didn’t get the virus because God was with me.”
“I won the award because God was with me.”
“My life has turned out well because God was with me.”

All these statements may well be true. But their inverses are most certainly not:

“I didn’t get the new job because God wasn’t with me.”
“I did get the virus because God doesn’t care for me.”
“I didn’t win the award because God is against me.”
“My life has turned out tragically because God has forsaken me.”

God is with us in the garden and in the desert – in the cool of the day and in the heat of the day.

God’s presence with us even when life makes us sweat should come as no surprise to us. The word “sweat” is found twice in the Bible – once when Adam is cursed in a garden and once when Jesus is struggling in a garden:

Being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:44)

Jesus knows what it’s like to sweat. And He’s promised to be with us when we sweat, too. Our circumstances – even when they are difficult and tempt us to become despondent – are not barometers of His presence. He is present with us because He has promised to be. Period.

January 31, 2022 at 5:15 am Leave a comment


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