4-16-23 - Prayer
Heavenly Father, as I think about the Garden of Eden and the “Forbidden Fruit”, I can’t help but think we all have forbidden fruit in our lives that separates us from You. It might be called by many different names, like fame, money, power, popularity, or a million other names, but no matter what we call it, it is what separates us from You. It is what we allow to come between You, as our Creator, Lord and Savior, and us as Your children. It keeps us from having the fulfilling and complete life You truly want for us. I have often wondered why You didn’t just remove that terrible tree that caused all the trouble, but then I had to admit, that terrible tree, wasn’t the problem.
It reminds me a bit of my daughter when she was a toddler. No matter what I moved out of her reach, she would find something that needed to be climbed on, pulled down, or somehow investigated further. I wasn’t moving those things to be mean to her, but to try to keep her safe. What I finally realized was the best way to keep her safe was to grow her understanding of me as a mom and what my intention was for her. Once she understood that when I told her to not climb on the table, the main reason was to keep her from falling off the table, or pulling the table on top of her. My main intention was to keep her safe. I, like most moms, wanted to get her to a a certain age without too many stitches, burns, cuts and broken bones. I remember when she was still just a young little thing about 4 years old and could run much faster than I, we went through a learning time where I had to help her understand that when I said “STOP”!, it wasn’t just to see how loud I could yell or how many heads would turn to see what I was yelling about. I needed her to stop in her tracks because there was something I was trying to protect her from, but I could only do that if she listened to me. She would only listen to me if she trusted me, and she couldn’t trust me until she knew me and felt my love for her.
What a good parent You are, God, that You allowed that tree to be in the garden to work with Adam and Eve on the issue of obedience. I can’t imagine how heart breaking it was for you that they couldn’t follow a few simple rules. It wasn’t like they didn’t have fruit to eat from other trees. It wasn’t like that was the only tree that gave them shade so they had to sit under it. There was no reason that they should have gone near that tree except for the sin nature we have. You give us free will. You allow us to choose You, not be forced into choosing and worshipping you. I think about the many “leaders “in the world that force people to follow them. They operate out of fear, not love. While You do expect us to fear You as God, and give every ounce of respect, adoration, and love to You as our Creator, the love you have for us is so complete there is nothing that I can begin to compare it to that exists outside of You. I can’t imagine an authority having to “force” people to show courage, obedience, and honor to them as the ruler, without a lot of misgivings in the back of their mind. Yes, they can make it a life-or-death choice, but even those who “appeared” to be complete supporters, would probably hold a grudge that they didn’t have a choice about who or how to support a leader.
You are a God of love, not of ultimatums. Yes, You do tell us to be obedient or we might make the eleven day journey to the promised land in only 40 years, but You always go with us for that 40 year journey. The instructions You give me are for my best. I know that in my heart of hearts, and even in my stubborn, willful mind, but it doesn’t mean I always follow You blindly. I wish I was a better follower than I am. I’m sure there are days You want to turn me around, and force me to listen closely to the instructions You have for me, but You are much more gentle than that. You want me to follow You because I WANT to follow You. I feel so crazy sometimes because no matter what I KNOW about You, there are days all I can muster up is the desire to want to follow You completely. I guess that is better than not wanting to follow You at all, but I really and truly want to desire that for myself completely I know I have grown in this area, Father, but please help me as I still have so far to go.
Father, I’m sure there are times You want to pat me on the head and just say, “Follow me and don’t ask any questions.” But that isn’t who You are. You want us to learn, to love You more as we learn, and to share what we know about You with others. I’m beyond grateful for how much You have given up for me in order to have a relationship with me. Help me take the time to learn to be a better follower of You. I want to be a better child. I want to be more obedient; I want to represent You better. Help me be a child You can be proud of. Help me do and say things that point people to You as the one and only God of all creation. Help me hear Your voice more clearly. Help me hear You, listen to You, and Follow You.
In Jesus’ name!