Snakes are creepy
Marriage is a struggle
Making a living is hard
Death is certain –(Genesis Series-2015)
My middle son is going through that awkward puberty/teenage angst/stretch your mom’s last nerve until it snaps like a used rubber band phase. If we couldn’t tell by the physical changes (which are probably God’s idea of a practical joke) – we can certainly tell by the changes in behavior.
We have tried to guide him in the right direction. We have tried to set good examples. We have begged, pleaded and yes – threatened. Let’s just say our punishments have stopped just short of kicking him out and installing a cherubim with a flaming sword at the door.
I’m not an expert – by far – but I think that in order for punishment to be effective it has to be individualized enough to make someone want to change their behavior. The difficulty is my kids are so very different that one punishment doesn’t fit all. What is torture for one is a welcome reprieve for the other. For example – one of them loves physical activity. He has no problem splitting and stacking a cord of firewood – just because……but set the other brother to that task and there is much groaning and gnashing of teeth.
Now – for the middle brother – it is absolute torture to be grounded to his room. (BTW – the other brother considers this punishment a national holiday) The lack of social interaction with friends and family – according to him – is the epitome of human suffering. He can’t stand to be in solitude. The most effective punishment for him is the lack of communion with others.
And I think that the same was probably true for Adam and Eve. Yeah, I know that it’s a pain in the heel to have to deal with creepy snakes. I know that giving birth without an epidural is excruciating – I KNOW. I know that it is hard to make a living. And marriages probably wouldn’t be quite as much of a struggle if we could still run around naked all day. But what I think really pained the first couple the most had to be losing their close relationship with God.
It had to be awful missing that daily walk and talk in the cool of the evening; that one on one communication. They had to miss the interaction as they basked in God’s glory – luxuriating as they literally lived with God in a paradise on earth. How absolutely perfect to be able to approach the creator of the universe and be welcomed with love and open arms……
And how absolutely horrible to feel his rejection….his sorrow…..his unhappiness at their behavior.
The good news is that Genesis is a story of beginnings – not endings. God never intended for the story to end with humans being banished from the garden. Death IS certain – but it certainly does not have to be the end.
God wants to welcome us back to paradise. He longs to open his arms and love us for eternity.