The Garden & the Glory

Read time: 2m 52s

The Gospel says in a painfully straightforward way that all that we desire, long for, dream about, and work to acquire or achieve or accomplish--in short, what every fiber of our being pulls toward and every moment of our life is devoted to--we miss. We fall short. We don't do it. We won't do it. We can't do it. 

Because of sin--ours, yours, mine, and theirs. Because of foolishness and selfishness. Because of weakness. With good, we just can't do it, get it, have it, keep it. With bad, we can't avoid it, be free of it, escape it.

The book ends of the Bible picture these elemental cravings.

On the left side of the book, we have The Garden. The primitive utopian memory. A place of simplicity and purity, of elemental connectedness, of fresh, childlike gratitude and awe, of unfettered worship of God and fellowship with others.

So much of our lives is an attempt to get back there. To get out of the headache of this complicated life, these social difficulties, financial obligations, and layers of unnecessary detritus that have accumulated around us like grocery bags and water bottles choking the shoreline of a once pristine island paradise. 

On the right side of the book, we see The Glory. The symphonic utopian dream. All things working together for good! A place of complexity and beauty, of success and sophisticated fulfillment, of powerful, mature, united praise and love, of fitting worship of God and appreciation for others.

So much of our lives is an attempt to realize this vision. To achieve. We pursue. Computers and technology and the internet and outer space and record-setting and knowledge gaining and personal bests and better selves and life-hacking and optimization. And where we fail, social media allows us to curate this fantasy in miniature.

We feel pulled to be free, rid of all sins and weights, and pure. We feel drawn to be glorious, maximum and true, and loving. 

And we miss. But this is the gift of God. That all we lost, we may find, in His Gift. And all we long to realize, we shall, in His Gift. And His Gift is Jesus.

And so the elemental purity, freedom, and peace of The Garden, we have as a gift in Jesus. He sets us free to that freedom. Washes us to that purity. And stills us to that Shalom.

And the beatific perfection and love of The Glory, we shall have as a gift in Jesus. He is working all things together for good. Equips us with every good thing. And completes His love in our loving.

Now, we all wonder if we might not do better for ourselves by mixing our efforts with Christ's. If perhaps Jesus is good for getting out of hell and getting into heaven, but that there are other goods out there that we'll miss if we go too wholly with Jesus. Nope. Not true. There are no goods apart from Him. All good things aimed at are missed, unless they are found, received, and enjoyed in the relationship we have by Grace with Christ.

Don't diversify. The Garden and The Glory belong to the King and to His people. The Garden is His garden and none may explore it but in Him. The Glory is His city and none may walk therein but by Him.

Jesus is The Way.

Photo byAkshar Dave   on Unsplash