Every night before bed, my three year-old and I snuggle up on the couch together and read. It usually ends up being the same books we’ve read a million times, and her quoting them to me, because she just can’t seem to part with these old stories for new ones.
I’ve been reading to her from her Jesus Storybook Bible that was a gift to her on the day she was born. I finally got her to move away from reading about Noah and on to Adam and Eve.
To day one. To when all was empty and then all was full. To when when it all was dark and nothing. To when God spoke and life happened. And it all was good, because he said it was.
And then we come upon this lie. This lie from this mouth of poison that tells us we will never be happy. That God doesn’t love us. That we could have more, when we’ve already been given everything.
You see, God knew if they ate the fruit, they would think they didn’t need him. And they would try to make themselves happy without him. But God knew there was no such thing as happiness without him, and life without him wouldn’t be life at all. As soon as the snake saw his chance, he slithered silently up to Eve.
“Does God really love you?”
My voice chokes and my eyes fill and I swallow it hard. I’ve heard this before.
Is that what I’ve felt? Is that the question I’ve asked in the valleys I’ve lived? Was I really asking that?
The snake’s words hissed into her ears and sunk down deep into her heart, like poison. “Does God love me?” Eve wondered. Suddenly she didn’t know anymore.
I swallow again and I remember the days when I suddenly didn’t know anymore either. And I drank that poison all the way down. Though it burned, I drank it down with the other burns of tragedy and trauma and loss.
Eve picked the fruit and ate some. And Adam ate some, too. And a terrible lie came into the world. It would never leave. It would live on in every human heart, whispering to every one of God’s children: “God doesn’t love me.”
I can see myself sitting with Eve. This woman whom, when created, God was the first one she saw. This woman who knew nothing other than perfection and good and beauty.
This woman who ate and drank this lie that would birth into death, and now every person for every generation would be kissed with this poison.
And we are the same, her and I.
And we both know that it’s not over.
God loved his children too much to let the story end there. Even though he knew he would suffer, God had a plan—a magnificent dream! One day, he would get his children back. One day, he would make the world their perfect home again. And one day, he would wipe away every tear from their eyes. You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children. Before they left the garden God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve: “It will not always be this way. I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I’m going to do battle against the snake. I’ll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I’m coming back for you!” And he would. One day, God himself would come.” (from Genesis 3)
My daughter, Selah, is asking about the tears I have.
And I tell her that sometimes we wonder if God loves us. That sometimes the way love comes feels more like we are betrayed. But I tell her that we always have to remember The Promise that, “It will not always be this way. I will come to rescue you!”
Eve is our heritage, but not our inheritance. The cup from which we drink this poison may still bear the print of our lips, but the blood which pumps through our veins is transfused.
We are free.
And now that we are free, we have been given the power through his Spirit to know this love. To know how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. To be filled with the fullness of God. This is the promise on which I stand. This is the promise on which you can stand.
Have you ever felt the weight of wondering does God really love you? Do you ever need reminders that he really does love you? What promises of God help you walk in freedom? I’d love to hear from you.