Saturday, May 25, 2013

Lemonade out of Lemons

The day Adam and I were married, an elderly man recognized the tell-tale signs of a man about to be married, "Big day, huh?" he commented.  "Yes.  It sure is!" Adam replied.  Then, curiously, the man said, "What's your name, anyway brother?"  Adam told him, "Adam Day."  The man lit up with excitement. "That's a very special name, do you realize why?" He had that look of anticipation - like he was about to tell him something profound.  Adam could not think of why his name was special.  He'd always thought it was a little old-fashioned. "Because," the man continued, "the first day man was found on the earth, his name was Adam."

I realized something about the story of Adam and Eve a few nights ago.
It was emphasized again last night as we watched a beautiful movie based on a true story called, "Unconditional."  Last Fall I began a serious inquiry into all the accounts of Adam and Eve that were available to me.  I prayed much, pondered constantly, and greatly desired to understand aspects of the accounts that confused me or bothered me.  I thought I had come to understand powerful things; felt all my questions were resolved, but I continue to find the Lord tutoring me. I see and feel things I can't explain in words. Maybe that's why I had to learn them through experience, no other method can teach us some things. 

I think it is important to remember that the Tree of Knowledge was created by God; He placed it in their path. Did God have a different way they could have come to eat from the tree? A later time for them to learn of good and evil? Maybe.  I don't like to think of God as dependent on the devil, but the fact remains God was prepared to make lemonade out of lemons. Because of Adam and Eve's experience of good and evil, of pain and sorrow but also joy and love - they ended up more like their Eternal Father then they ever would have had they stayed in the garden.

John Fiske, a Harvard Philosopher explains,

"Clearly, for strong and resolute men and women an Eden would be but a fool's paradise. How could anything fit to be called character have ever been produced there? . . . We can at least begin to realize distinctly that unless our eyes have been opened at some time, so that we might come to know the good and the evil, we should never have become fashioned in God's image. We should have been the denizens of a world of puppets, where neither morality nor religion could have found place or meaning."  
I find it powerful to think that though Adam pointed to Eve, and Eve pointed to the devil, God was the one who pointed the way forward. He sees the way forward in all our lives. He doesn't think the way we do.

I think of their tree. It made future children possible for Adam and Eve, taught them truths they didn't know before, helped them come together and know each other more deeply than they would have otherwise - they probably were better able to not only be of one heart and of one flesh, but of one mind.  I can't see any tree that bares such fruit as evil.  And though it brought loss and pain, I'm grateful they partook. Because they did, we can experience just like them those essential lessons of life in such depth that we can eventually "become fashioned in God's image."

As that movie reminded me, life is about being nourished by "trees" that teach us essential lessons in opposition. Essential if we are to progress. And progress only when we yield to God's way. And God's way is love. Unconditional love. 

To me, the glass of lemonade made from those lemons is full and brimming, not half empty. :)

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