Okay, I have to confess . . . I like gardening. There, I said it. Sorry guys, but I do! So, liking gardens, I have often thought about how wonderful the Garden of Eden must have been. Absolute satisfaction and joy in the most fragrant and lavishly beautiful place the world has ever known! And add to the beauty of it all the unhindered intimacy that Adam and Eve, in perfect harmony, enjoyed with each other and their God. In spite of the fact that there were no high-tech toys, sports, or flashy cars there, it’s safe to say that what went on in that garden was an experience beyond our fondest dreams.
But as you probably know, something bad happened, and the super-blessed pair were left with a fallen world full of weeds and pain—all kindsof weeds and pain if you know what I mean.
But the God who lost His prized possession on that day planned to someday reclaim Eden and its unhindered joys. In Revelation 21:1-27, He describes this new Eden in terms of the “new heaven and new earth.” Everything in this old fallen place will be gone and there will be a new city where God will dwell, where we will be His people and He will be our God. There will be no more tears, no death, no mourning or crying, and no pain. All of that will have passed away. PTL! The tangled thorns of broken relationships, sickness, pain, and sin will be no more. And, better than the first garden, in this Eden there will be no possibility of failing and losing it again. By His grace we will all be locked into righteousness—forever.
But between the experience of these two gardens, there is another garden. A garden where the new Eden became a certain reality—a reality in which we can find hope and courage in the fact that this creepy, fallen world is not all that we have, that there is a better world to come! It is the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus agonized over going to the cross. And it was His surrender in that garden that makes the coming Eden an assured reality for all who embrace the Jesus of Gethsemane as Savior and Lord.
Recently it occurred to me that, like Jesus, we live between the two gardens—in a hostile and threatening world full of weeds and pain. And between the two gardens, “surrender” is still the password that produces the victory we long for in the midst of the weeds of fallen relationships and personal failure. Surrender to a forgiving spirit. Surrender to patience and long-suffering. Surrender to God’s principles even in the face of rejection and misunderstanding. It’s surrender that keeps the weeds from choking out the strength and joy in our hearts.
So let me ask you: When was the last time you knelt at the rock by Jesus’ side, knowing that God’s will for you was a tough assignment, and heard your heart say with His, “Not my will but yours be done”?