Stories for Children
(Based on the Bible)
By Kathleen Donavan
Chapter Four - Leaving the Garden
An evening in May is the perfect time to sit on a front porch to view the various stars and constellations. Tim spotted a shooting star in the north. It's my kind of weather, he thought, as he sat on the porch swing and pushed back with his feet. The moon was so bright that he could clearly see everything outside as though it were still twilight. He thought if he could be anywhere in the whole world right now, this is the place he would choose, as he continued to push back and forth slowly.
Dad should be here soon, he thought, and about the same instant, he saw the headlights of his Dad's truck rounding the corner and pulling into the drive way. The engine stopped and Tim heard the door clamp shut. As Tim's Dad started up the porch steps, Tim told him that tonight is Men's Night.
"Why is that?"
"Well, you know that Linda has been bugging Mom to let her take dance lessons."
"Yes, I heard about that, so tonight is the big night, huh?"
"Yep, and Linda left here acting like she was being crowned Queen."
"Like you said, Tim, this is a great night for us men. Where did you hide my dinner?"
"It's in there in the microwave, except the salad and drink and they are in the refrigerator. I'll help you bring it out here so we can relax together."
"Sounds like a good plan to me!"
They were settled in after having finished dinner, talking like the men folk in the family do, and Tim told his Dad that he had a question about something that made him feel a little uneasy.
"Tell me about it, and I'll see if I can help."
"Remember how Adam and Eve's life got harder when they had to leave the Garden of Eden? I wonder why God didn't just leave them there. They knew that they were not going to live forever, so what could it have hurt to leave them in the perfect place and one day, they would have just died?"
"Tim, remember that they had all kinds of problems after they ate of the Lord's tree. They actually gained too much knowledge, too fast. Knowledge and truth are two different things. Just because they got a lot of information doesn't make the information correct. They were confused and frustrated and unable to deal with their lives well."
Tim listened and his father continued to explain.
"You see, God had a plan already laid out for them to gain eternal life once they sinned and this plan was in place before they were created.
"There is a lot of symbolism in the Garden of Eden. There was another tree in the Garden named, The Tree of Life, which symbolically gives eternal life. They no longer qualified to eat of this tree until they understood that only God can define what is good and what is evil. In other words, they must learn through adversity.
"Was God angry with them?"
"Yes, we can see from reading the scripture, that God was very angry, but we also learn that his anger did not mean that He loved them less. I really do not know just how things might have gone if sin had not entered their lives. We will learn of blessing for mankind that comes with obedience to God. Blessing to a thousands generations! Deut 7:9 "Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;" But that is not what happened here. They sinned, forfeiting the blessings for obedience.
"Adam and Eve brought confusion on themselves, when they undertook the impossible task of taking shortcuts to eternal life. No longer could they be given eternal life within the Garden of Eden, because they had stolen from God's own tree, which is the knowledge of good and evil. Their removal from the garden was a act of mercy for them, but mankind would not understand this for a long time. God knew, before He restored the earth and created them in His image, that Satan would surely try to steal the man and woman and to destroy them with lies. We learn from further study that the Tree of Life is symbolically, Jesus Christ.
"Remember that they discovered that they were naked and sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves, but they still hid although their bodies were covered. They were still aware of their nakedness. Covering the outside of their body did not make them feel covered. Their nakedness was a lack of covering for their sins. Just as fig leaves will wither, not enduring the elements, so are we, without our sins covered by Jesus Christ, really quite naked. Our covering, if it isn't the perfect Jesus Christ, will expose us to eternal death. So they left the garden with the provision in place for their receiving eternal life in the future.
"This provision is the gift we read about in John3:16and 17. For God (the Father of Jesus) so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For, God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him."
Tim said, "The symbolism really makes things clearer for me. Now I understand why they had to leave the garden, but why did they have to work so hard outside the garden?"
"The Garden was a perfect environment for them, and God knew the challenge to obtain a better environment again, would be good for them. This part of being a human, God created within us. It's the drive toward becoming the best that we can become. That's why your Mom and I encourage you to learn about a lot of different things because this gives you various possible opportunities to see where you might like to develop your God given talents and abilities. We know that one person cannot do all things well, but each human has the ability to be his/her best with the natural aptitudes within us. It doesn't come easy, sometimes the struggle to achieve brings greater satisfaction than the final achievement.
We all must cultivate the strength within us much as a farmer gets a field ready for planting, plants the seed, gives the seed water and nourishment and it germinates in the fertile soil until finally a small plant comes through the ground. Next, the weeds have to be removed that grow up around the valuable plant, and more water is given until the plant is finally big and strong, and begins producing delicious food. Life is a process of struggles, but each one of us must persist in our own development.
"Just as they had to leave the garden to develop, so must you and I must do something in life besides sit in our sail boat, in beautiful Lake Pleasant. We have to struggle to become educated, struggle to do our jobs well, and struggle to do the right things for our family and our community.
"I want you to understand that no human being can ever live perfectly and gain eternal life just because one tries on his/her own to do well. The plan put into place for humanity to gain eternal life is Jesus Christ. Trusting in Him and obeying His word, is what God expects of us."
Dad read, Hebrews 11;16 to further his point. It is; ‘And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He rewards those that earnestly seek Him."
"I think I understand what you are saying," Tim responded , "You are saying that the struggle to achieve, as a way of life, helps us to seek God earnestly."
"Yes, Tim, That's a good explanation. Another explanation is that struggling proves character."
"Here comes Linda in a pink tutu, with her dancing shoes thrown across her shoulder," Dad exclaimed, "Looks like we are going to have a ballerina in the family."
"She's going to have to get a lot better than anything I've seen her do around here," Tim said dryly.
Dad said, " I can see your little sister here, gliding across the dance floor very soon now"
Mom said, "Have you two enjoyed your evening?"
"We've been talking about living forever again," Tim answered.
"Me too, I want to live forever, too," Linda said, excitedly.
"It's for everybody in the whole world," Tim said, "but you must believe and obey God.
"We can discuss more about this later but for now, we must get ready for bed. I ‘ve been thinking of going over some things in the bible that will help all of us. We'll get to it soon."
"What kind of things, Daddy," Linda asked.
"Things like how we all can be certain that God forgives our sins, how we can please God, understanding the assurance of His love and help for us in times of need."
"Let's do it tomorrow night", Linda said.
"Good idea Linda," Dad answered.
As Tim lay in bed, he drifted off to sleep listening to the crickets chirping beneath his opened window and feeling the soft cool air flowing across his face.
His parents came to his doorway to say "goodnight", but he was already sound asleep.
His Mom and Dad looked at each other and Dad asked, "Is he smiling in his sleep?"
Mom squeezed Dad's hand as they left Tim's room to check on Linda.
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