There once was a garden where flowers bloomed without mildew spotted leaves. It was a perfect place. The garden of Eden.
Memories of it flash across the sky. Falling in love sent me spinning through the stars, my heart beating across a universe of deep colours and untold wonders. Holding my first child and hearing her hearty first cry sent thrills of new life coursing through my veins.
They were little moments where the pain and suffering of this life were transcended, where hope and love burst through in startling clarity.
But the long fall back to earth is all too quick. My back can’t bear the weight of the world gnashing at my loved ones. If only I could make all things new, if only I could make all things bright and beautiful.
I long for Eden. A world in harmony, a world without pain, filled with unfettered life. A place where the peace of the night held no dangers lurking in the shadows, where the firelight revealed no flickering eyes of wild beasts seeking to devour.
I long for Eden, where regret and sadness didn’t hide behind every leaf, where poison didn’t drip into every stream and pollution cloud every breath.
I stand amidst the tidal wave of darkness in the world, reaching out my hands to hold it back to protect my daughters, to guard my wife. And with increasing dread I see my own hands are just as dark as the black waters flowing against me.
This world is fallen, and the memory of where it once was haunts my dreams. Fallen, to ash and decay. Fallen, to rust and to fray. Fallen, fallen, fallen.
And it has taken me with it.
A ray of hope
But the story isn’t finished. Light shines, bright and hot, pure as gold refined seven times. It pierces the inky depths of my soul; it sets my heart ablaze with truth. Truth that is clean and raw, humming with the power that raises the dead.
The Creator of the world has seen our darkness and pitied our despair. Our cosmic tragedy set the stage for the display of love in its purest form.
The King of the universe became a servant, taking the form of a man, humbling Himself to the point of death, even death on a cross.
He took our sins upon Himself, the blackness of our souls, and let the punishment we deserve fall on His head.
For a good man one might dare to die, but Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, showed true love by dying for those who were far from Him, the very ones who reviled and cursed His name.
And then He rose from the grave, resplendent in victory over every ugly stench that rises from our dust. The price of sin was paid, and the chains of death were broken.
He rose from the grave and returned to Heaven with the promise to come again, this time not as the humble servant but as a mighty King and righteous Judge.
A glorious end
It will be terrifying for those who have shunned His grace and spat on His mercy. But for those who stand before Him clothed in robes of imputed righteousness the event will stand as the high point of history.
Revelation chapter 21 verses 3 to 4 (NIV) “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘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.’”
Eden will be real once again, a garden where God walks with His people, and they are not ashamed. I look to the promise of a new heaven and a new earth, a new garden where man will once again dwell with God, and I feel hope flood my soul.
Thomas Devenish lives in Hobart, Tasmania with his wife and two daughters. He works as a motion designer and enjoys the diverse experiences life has to offer, from chasing tennis balls to curling up with a good book on a rainy day. Thomas Devenish’s previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/thomas-devenish.html