NOV 2, 2016 Devotional: Footsteps in the Garden

Hard to believe it but this time next week, we should have a fairly good idea of who the next President of the United States will be.  After a long, hard-fought, and depressingly ugly campaign by both major political parties’ candidates, we, arguably, will have narrowed the selection down to one individual.  Today’s WAWA devotional is not designed to press one candidate over the other.  Rather, today I’d like to focus on the question:  “Where has God been throughout this ugly political season?

Has God been absent while the mud slinging has occurred?  Has God given up on our beloved nation?  Has America fallen from God’s grace?

Simply put….the answer in “No”.  God’s presence has remained.

How do we know this?  Well, let’s look back in the beginning; in the book of Genesis where the stories of the Creation are explained.  Recall back a few months to an earlier devotional where I explained the two different stories of the beginning of our world.  First, there’s the very methodical and organized version of the Creation story.  On Day 1 God did this; on Day 2 he did this…..and on the seventh day, God rested.  If you’re an engineer, like me, then this is an orderly version.  Task and purpose.  Checklists.  God had a daily agenda.  He did it and then he prepared for the next day.  A project manager’s dream version of the story with no cost overruns, no slippage of dates, and no running over budget.

Then there’s the other version of the story of Creation.  Some might call this the poetic version, where things seems to flow with ease.  It’s like watching your favorite story unfold directly in front of you, without any breaks, pauses, or stumbles.  God creates a beautiful masterpiece; a wonderful garden and breathes breath into Man.  He puts Man to sleep and forms Woman from his flesh.  There are days, where I love this version as well.

Beyond the Creation story, in Genesis, Adam and Eve are stewards of the Garden.  We all know how the drama unfolds.  They eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil.  They literally try to hide from God because they are embarrassed and know that they have offended Him.  In Genesis 3:8-9, we read:

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”  GEN 3:8-9 NIV

There’s a lot to unpack in those two verses, but they could shed some insight into the initial question about “Where had God been….?”  First, in the literal sense, some argue whether or not God was physically in the Garden with Adam and Eve.  Was He there or is this a descriptive passage where perhaps the vision of God walking in the cool of the day, refers to God in the wind or a cloud or some other non-human form.  Regardless, we know from this verse that God has a presence in our lives, especially when we try to hide from Him.

Next, in the second verse, God rhetorically asks Adam, “where are you?”.  Do you ever get mad at your kids and you know exactly what they’ve done to get in trouble?  My boys do this all the time!  They are not very good at covering their tracks whether it be cookie crumbs on the kitchen countertop or muddy footprints across the living room hardwood floor.  We know exactly what they’ve done wrong, yet we ask them anyway.  “Where are you….”, God asks, but He knows exactly where they are hiding.  God is too big and, frankly, we are too small to hide from His presence.

So, regardless of your opinion about “why” this political season has been so ugly, the answer to the “where has God been” is rather definitely “He’s been here….”.  Consider that God has been using this challenging political season as another way to prove his glory.  He’s done this before, right?  Does this mean God can use either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump for the better good?  Well….I can’t answer that deep question…however, look at Biblical history:

Under their own power:

  • Jacob was a thief.
  • Moses was a stuttering murderer.
  • David was an adulterer.
  • Peter denied Christ.
  • Paul hated Christians.

However, in spite of their shortcomings, God used them in miraculous ways.

With God’s power:

  • Jacob became Israel.
  • Moses delivered God’s people.
  • David became a man after God’s own heart.
  • Peter was the rock that the early church was built upon.
  • Paul introduced Christianity to the world.

Perhaps, this season is just the beginning of something incredible?  My prayer today is that we all recognize God’s presence in the Garden and in our daily lives….and believe, once again, the God has a plan through all of this!

Keep the faith!