And the answer is…
Into the Garden of Eden, God placed man and woman. And that should enough for us. God designed and created a place of wonder and beauty filled with fascinating creatures and plant life is enough for man to know that his Creator cares for him. The anointing of Adam as steward of the earth assures him that the Lord has trusted him. Perfect provision given to Adam and Eve shows that God cares for them.
But that was not enough for God. In addition to all that is given to them, God adds one greater gift. It is the greatest gift of all… His own presence. He comes and walks with them during the cool of the day. God grants to them his friendship. It is within the realm of possibility that God would be too busy for these fragile creations: man and woman. After all, he has the entirety of heaven, all of the universe, and things beyond comprehension to rule. And yet, his love is so deep that he comes to the man and woman for a lazy afternoon stroll.
The story of creation seamlessly moves into the story of God’s intimate pursuit of relationship with man, woman, and their descendants. After sin enters the picture by the choice of Adam and Eve, we find ourselves marred from birth by our sin nature and relationally separated from God by our own choices to sin. Yet, we find ourselves under the missionary gaze of God. In a move that would seem to be contrary to all we deserve, God comes to find us. Both in the Garden of Eden and in our everyday living, God calls to us, “Where are you?” He does not ask because somehow he has lost track of us. Rather, he wants us to realize that we have become a far-from-God people. As written by C.S. Lewis, we need to realize that “Aslan is on the move” to rescue us from our sin and ourselves.
So, when salvation arrives at our doorstep, we make the choice. We find the Gospel illumined in such manner that its truth cannot be denied. The moment of choice arrives, our hearts burn with conviction from the Spirit, and we surrender to Christ. This is the turning point of eternity for every person. Redemption arrives. It is not the sad stereotype given in movies of the pagan becoming a zealot. Rather, it is the guilty being justified so fully that the very accusations of crimes are wiped away. God the Judge is Christ the Savior and the Spirit is the Comforter who crosses the great chasm in order to catch away the breath of the new bride.
As that bride, we stand in awe of the great love shown to such unworthy recipients. We are the first couple in the Garden and he is the One coming to walk with us. We are unbelieving Sarah and He is the Lord who causes life. We are Gideon before the battle and he is the God who conquers with torches, jars, and trumpets. We are Mephibosheth and he is the King who welcomes cripples at the table. We are stiff clay and he is the master Potter. We are Gomer and he is Hosea. Yes – that is the one. He is the faithful husband who loves the unlikely, unlovely, unfaithful Gomer. And even, when we leave to whore ourselves to an uncaring world, Hosea comes to purchase us. It is God who has sought me out from the dark places of this world and brought me to himself. He has brought me into his home. I have been given the rights and privileges of royalty.
And why is this? Why would the Creator look for man and woman while they hid in shame? Why does the Author of life provide a child to Sarah? Why would the Victor choose doubting Gideon to win a battle against impossible odds? Why does the Master and King welcome an invalid to eat at his table for the rest of his days? Why does the Potter even concern himself with clay which resists proper molding? Why does the Bridegroom seek out such a decadent bride? Why?
Love is the answer.