“God commanded the Man, ‘You can eat from any tree in the garden, except from the Tree-of-Knowledge-of-Good-and-Evil. Don’t eat from it. The moment you eat from that tree, you’re dead.'”
Genesis 2:16-17 MSG
“The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal God had made. He spoke to the Woman: ‘Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?’ The Woman said to the serpent, ‘Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’’
The serpent told the Woman, ‘You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.’
When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she’d know everything!—she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate.”
Genesis 3:1-6 MSG
Imagine being in a place of serene beauty. In every direction, your eyes are delighted. You have nothing to worry about and nothing to fear. All of your needs are met above and beyond.
Now there is only one thing that you are not permitted to partake of- only one thing that is “withheld” from you. But it is for your good, but you begin to question that. You know the rest of the story. And if not, check it out in Genesis 2-3. It’s heart-breaking yet redemption calls beyond those pages.
I’m reminded of this story as I stroll through the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries, which are the gardens near the Lourve in Paris.
I’ve seen so many indescribable things on this five-and-a-half-week-journey, but today God reminded me of His presence three different times in different moments. I’m reminded just how close He is even when I am feeling so far away from everything I know. He is not limited or contained by space or oceans or the borders of countries and continents. He is ever-present and ever-speaking.
Now, back to the Jardin des Tuileries. I’m reminded of this story in Genesis because, like Eve, I am surrounded by beauty and in constant awe of natural wonders and the wonders God planted in the minds of men and women to create. The danger of all this beauty is becoming lost in it rather than lost in the Creator and Designer of it all.
“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.”
Romans 1:25 NIV
My heart beats with joy and with wonder and bedazzlement- if that’s a word- at all I have been able to experience. But my heart’s compass keeps redirecting my attention and affection back to Him who is truly worthy of it.
So I just want to encourage you to never take your eyes off the ultimate prize of knowing Christ and making Him known. Never lose the wonder of all you see, but remember that all you see points to the One who is calling you and loves you wildly.