Out of the Garden, part three

Something really interesting gets mentioned early in chapter two of Genesis. It led my mind down two very different paths, so I wanted to explore those paths here today. Let’s check out the verses.

Genesis 2:4-6 This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth. When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5 neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For the Lord God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil. 6 Instead, springs came up from the ground and watered all the land.

In the many times I’ve read the book of Genesis, I don’t think I ever really paused and thought about the situation being described here. If you really think about it and picture it, it’s a very God thing that’s happening here. There was no rain yet so, ya know, let’s just bring up some water from underground to water everything.

I think one of the reasons that this detail really caught my eye is because I’ve seen several people talking about nature lately. Several non-Christians that I know have been getting into these really intense, deep conversations about how certain things in nature PROVE that God doesn’t exist, or that they PROVE that the Bible’s account of creation is flawed. And yet when I read verses like the ones above, I feel as if there’s a factor they’re missing out on in their equations, one that they’ll never add in, and thus they’ll never change the answer they keep coming up with. The factor is God. We see in verse six that He commands nature however He sees fit. That’s why me, someone who believes in the absolute authority of the account of creation in the Bible, and an atheist are never going to see eye to eye on this. They’ll call me unintelligent, call me a science denier, all that stuff, and that’s okay because if I didn’t believe in God I wouldn’t understand, either. God defies science. He creates with a word, bends nature to His will, and that doesn’t fit neatly into a scientific theory or a scientific school of thought.

And you know what? That’s okay. If I’m having a debate with someone about creation science, then I’m having the wrong debate with them. There are wonderful believers who have knowledge of that stuff who can minister to science-minded non-believers effectively. I’m not that guy, at least not at this point in my life. I’m so caught up in the wonder and power of God, it rarely occurs to me to NEED to be able to defend the creation account. Since I’ve seen so many people talking about it lately, I’ve started doing some research and learning a little more. My hope is to one day be able to engage with someone on that level if it’s the level they need to engage on. But for now, that’s not my strength, and I think it’s important to know your strengths as a believer. I can’t teach you a ton about creation science, but I can show you what a transformed life looks like. I can tell you all about the character of God, and I can tell you about the many benefits of a life committed to following Jesus and serving Him. I’ll talk to you for hours about the beauty and wisdom of the Bible. It’s so important to know what your strength is when it comes to this stuff. Sometimes you only get one chance to engage a person about your faith. Do it in the absolute best manner you can, from a position of your best expertise.

There’s one other thing from these verses that I wanted to talk about. A phrase came to me as I read about the water coming up from the earth to handle a task (watering the land). The internal versus the external. The rain, an external force versus the springs that came up from the Earth, an internal force. Stick with me for a minute while I explain.

A life of faith is a very relational one. Jesus didn’t walk alone, and he didn’t send out his followers to work alone, he sent them in teams. One of the first things that took place in my life when I began really serving God was relational, it was God establishing a net of believers and friends in the faith around me. Some were encouragers, some were just friends, some were partners in ministry, but all of them served a great purpose. They were there when I needed them, an external force that assisted me in carrying out my life of faith.

But sometimes we have to rely on something else. Jesus went 40 days alone in the wilderness. Paul spent years imprisoned. Sometimes we go through periods as believers when it seems like our external forces and helpers just aren’t there the way they once were. This doesn’t necessarily mean our friends are abandoning us, sometimes it just means that we’re in a period of life where we have to turn to the internal to get us through. When God’s living presence inside of us has to sustain us and power us and comfort us.

Psalm 63:1 O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.

David knew what it meant to have to rely on the internal. He had no water, no physical rest from his enemies, but he had the living God with him, and so he was able to carry on. Too often I see believers go through tough seasons in their lives and fall directly into a crisis of faith. Work’s going poorly, they’re having a few issues, don’t feel like they’re meshing as well in some of their friendships/relationships, and all of a sudden it turns into a crisis of faith. I’ve gone through those seasons. Some I handled well, some I most certainly did not. But I thank God for those seasons because it’s in those wilderness times when you’re forced to rely upon the well of God inside of you to survive. Those times when there is no rain, when there is no water, when there is no friend coming by to help, you either suffer, or you draw closer to God than you ever have before. You discover His realness, His true provision, and you discover just how undefeatable a person of God truly is.

God can and does bring the rain in life. Usually, if you’re following Him and earnestly chasing after His will, you’re going to find yourself with a beautiful tapestry of helpers and friends. But those tough times do come. If we keep that in mind, if we work hard on keeping a deep, ongoing relationship with God, then we’ll have deep wells to draw upon when those times come. These times are often the precursors to blessing, the journeys that lead to new adventures and phases of life. They may be tough, but God is near in the tough times, and that makes them absolutely worthwhile.

I love all of you. I hope your week is off to a great start!

If you have any prayer requests or just need someone to talk to, please feel free to email me at freejenkins@gmail.com.


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