The Bible says all creation groans, and I hear it.
I hear it in the trees that struggle to survive, in wilting flowers, in strawberries that never get ripe enough to enjoy. I hear it in the wild, destructive tornadoes. I hear it in the floods, in sickness, in human responses to evil committed against another, but especially against innocent children. It’s a rough world we live in. Much has gone awry. Creation does indeed groan, and we, being God’s creation, also groan.
Have you ever asked yourself why so much is wrong with the world? Why all the suffering? Who’s to blame? And if you couldn’t conjure up a satisfying answer, did you turn and shake your fist at God?
If He’s so powerful, He should stop all the madness, and clearly, He’s not lifting a finger …
But consider who’s actually to blame.
It’s Adam, of course. Or Eve, depending on who you see as sinning first. God gave them a world of perfection, free of weeds, free of sin, free of pain and evil. The only stipulation to keeping the perfect world perfect was this: Do not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That was it. He basically said, “I’m giving you an entire, flawless Paradise. It’s all yours, save for the fruit of one tree.”
What did they do? They ate.
What did we do? We ate … and do eat.
“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23)
Whether Adam or Eve sinned first is fairly irrelevant, because the truth is that we have all followed in their footsteps. Had I been Eve, or had you had been Adam, sin would have entered the world through us. As it is, sin perpetuates through us.
But back to the deal. If they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, God said they would surely die. And wrapped up in that promise was the fact that the world, with sin in it, would become topsy turvy in many ways. Their perfect garden would begin to grow goat heads and morning glories that, if not removed quickly, would choke the life out of their sustenance. Adam would have to work by the sweat of his brow. Eve would be cursed with pain in childbearing. As things progressed, they would have to come to terms with what dummkopfs they were for not demanding the serpent who tempted them to take a hike. Suddenly, they had marital spats. They probably caught various illnesses. They had a few real cute (I’m sure) kids, but then one ended up killing the other. To say their family was dysfunctional is a gross understatement. Because of one split decision, life was no longer Heaven on earth. It was painful, hard, complicated.
How irritated they must have been with themselves. And that brings me to my message. The predicaments, troubles, and suffering we experience today are a result of the Fall of Mankind. Yes, Adam and Eve got the whole ordeal rolling. But everyone of us has followed suit. And so, when we see sickness, death, mass shootings, abortion, rape, child molestation, hunger, poverty, racism, etc, we need to realize that ultimately, it is our fault. We sinned. We didn’t keep the deal. And the suffering we see is simply a result of our breach of contract.
Why then, would anyone raise their fist toward Heaven and shout to God that He’s messing up? It’s ironic, really, that anyone would direct their anger toward Him, since, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8)
Was Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection His plan all along? Yes. But it wasn’t part of the verbal, knowing deal between Adam and Eve and their Creator. The truth is, God didn’t have to save us. He was not obligated to send Jesus many years after the first sin occurred to die and make a way for us to live eternally in Heaven with Him. Frankly, He could have killed Adam and Eve on the spot and sent them straight to Hell after their first nibble, and He would have been perfectly just in doing so.
But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Adam and Eve’s sin didn’t negate God’s love toward them. And that brings me to my other message today: When everything in the world seems wrong, remember that in the future, because God is a loving keeper of promises, He will make everything right.
We are always so focused on what’s wrong in the world. But you know what?
What’s right in this world is that one day, everything is going to be made right.
This is a future and a hope that, as Christians, we’ve been given. God is just, and He is our Judge. But He’s also a never-ending fountain of love, grace, and mercy. So while the curse of sin and its ramifications rage on, we groan. But we can also be hopeful and grateful that our pain and struggle with sin and suffering will not last forever, if we are His.
It’s perfectly understandable to lament sin and its consequences. But it’s not okay to remain stuck in that lament. We should always take the time to bring sorrows to God, and He will be faithful to hear us. But our prayers of lament should eventually bring us to a reestablished trust in and gratefulness toward Him. When we get this process down pat? Well, the world will remain what it is. It will still not be as lovely or perfect as the Garden of Eden. But it will be a wonderful world, nonetheless.