I was thinking a lot through the weekend about the Bible Study that a small group of us are embarking on via a yahoo group. It isn’t just about being overweight or what you eat, but more about a heart of idolatry. This morning I was reading my new Donald Miller Book, Searching for God Knows What, and read something that really spoke to this issue. It is a bit lengthy – but I pray God may use it to speak to at least one heart like it spoke to mine.
I’ve a friend who overhead his wife on the phone with another man. She did not know he was in the house, and he walked up behind her, leaned on the frame of the door to hear her confess her love and enjoyment of the other man’s touch. My friend drove around Baltimore in a daze; he went into coffee shops and sat with his head in his hands. He went into a bus station and bought a ticket to Pittsburgh but he missed his bus, sick from smoking a pack of cigarettes. Instead, he spent an hour in the bathroom vomiting yellow muck into a filthy toilet.
Our systematic theology reduces the fall of man to a technical act of betrayal. We hardly think of it as relational at all. But I think this view distorts what actually happened. I think God must have felt like my friend in Baltimore. I think it was something terribly painful for God to endure. I don’t think we can understand the pain a pure love would feel after being betrayed by the focus of its love. You wouldn’t think God would forgive them [Adam & Eve AND us] at all. You would think God would just kill them.
A few paragraphs later he goes on:
All this makes me wonder what God must have felt, arriving on the scene just after the Fall, knowing all He had made was ruined and understanding once the sacrifice that would be required to win the hearts of His children from the grasp of their seducer. I see Him in my mind walking the paths, calling to the couple meeting their eyes for the first time, and Adam and Eve shaking in absolute terror, wondering what had happened, confused at the broken promise of a snake, feeling at once the trustworthiness of their first love and wondering if God would ever love them again, feeling the hot breath of His anger and emotion, hearing Him speak for the first time, not as a friend, but as One who had been betrayed. “Who told you that you were naked?”
I think the one difference in the scenario that “Don” lays out here – is that God was not taken off guard like the man with the cheating wife. He knew it was risky to gives us freewill, and He knew what the outcome would be. What God wanted most of all was for us to be willing to love Him in spite of everything that might attempt to lure us away. We find ourselves so much of the time, in the grip of our seducer. It may be packaged in the form of food, money, sex, alcohol – but it is certainly from the enemy. It breaks the heart of the One who truly loves us. Our struggle with sin is not a tally on a scorecard, but a shameful, adulteress relationship.