A Tale of Two Gardens…

God is good.
And everything He does is right.

Do you believe that?
If you do, it will revolutionize your life.

If you don’t, it will paralyze your faith and demoralize your life.

It was the lie – the first lie ever uttered on earth – that the serpent spoke to Eve in the Garden of Eden.
“Did God really say…?” (Genesis 3)
In other words, “Does God really know what He is doing? Does He really have your best interest at heart? Perhaps He is keeping something from you…or you from something…that is really, really good. Because, after all, your eyes and ears tell you that you know better…”
God is NOT good and He does not know what He is doing.

Walking by sight always leads to the same conclusion – this is a mess and God made a mistake.

I am sure that is how the disciples felt as their world fell apart that Thursday night.
It had been such a high point just a few days before!
The world had cheered on Sunday as Jesus rode into Jerusalem.
And then he had kicked some serious butt in the temple, turning out the thieves that were cheating the people who came to make sacrifices.
It felt really good!
Jesus was finally getting the glory he deserved.
He was finally doing something about the evil – something besides talking about it and praying about it.
And then to celebrate Passover with him once again.
A grand climax to a grand week.

Sure – he had been a little strange all week.
At the end of that triumphant ride on Sunday he had cried instead of being jubilant.
And he kept talking about how he was going to die.
But he had still masterfully handled the religious leaders all week as he taught at the temple.
Surely that counted for something!
Yes, there had been that whole bit at the Passover dinner about being betrayed.
But it would all be OK, right?
Because he had gotten away from angry crowds before.
Once in his own hometown when they tried to throw him off a cliff.
And once when they picked up stones to stone him.
He had slipped away both times – so surely this time would be just like that.

Only it wasn’t.
Thursday night they went to the Garden with him to pray – and fell asleep, only to be awakened by shouts, torch light, Roman soldiers everywhere – and that snake, Judas, kissing Jesus on the cheek to identify him in the dark.
And then the all night trials.
And the 39 lashes the next morning.
The mocking, spitting, jeering, taunting.
Name-calling.
Beard-pulling.
Blindfolded and struck across the face.
Crown of thorns.
Bruised and bloody.
And things rapidly going from bad to worse.

Why did he take it?
Why didn’t he make it stop?
After all, he had raised the dead!
Healed the lame!
Calmed the wind and the waves!

And then the ultimate confusion.
The unthinkable – a death sentence followed by a death march through the streets of Jerusalem, out to the Hill of the Skull, the place where common criminals died a common death.
Thousands of people had been crucified before.
But none of them were Jesus.

And the sound of the hammer striking nails rang out over the hillside.

Where was GOD?
Why was He allowing this?
Surely, He had lost His mind.
Surely, He had forgotten to be kind.
Surely, He had made a horrific mistake.

Or they had.
Maybe Jesus wasn’t the Messiah.
Maybe he did get his power from the Devil, just like the religious teachers said.
Maybe they had wasted three years of their lives following this man.
He appeared powerful for three years – but now He was defeated.
He was not good.
He was not right.
THIS was not right.

God is not good and He does not know what He is doing.
The lie of the Garden of Eden.
Turned upside down and exposed in the Garden of Gethsemane.
When Jesus said to His Father, “I don’t want to do this. I do not like what is coming. I know You have the power to spare me this. But I yield. I submit myself to You to do whatever You want.”
Because, unlike Eve, Jesus believed in the goodness of His Father.
He knew that His Father IS good and everything He does IS right.
Even when it feels horribly wrong.
Even when it is unjust.
Even when it means death.

God is good – and everything He does is right.

Because, as you well know, the story does not end on Friday with a crucifixion.
It both ends and begins again on Sunday morning with a resurrection.
God takes what the enemy intends for evil and turns it into good.
Because He is good and everything He does is right.

And that same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in all those who believe. (Ephesians 1)
All those who CAN believe because God allowed the unthinkable to happen to His one and only Son. (John 3:16)
You and I, much like the disciples, only see part of the picture.
In the midst of the pain that comes with life in this sinful, fallen world, it is much, much easier to believe that God has lost His mind or was never really God at all.
But He has promised to take every problem, every crisis, every diagnosis, every rejection, every bad choice and work it together for your good and His glory if you are His follower. (Romans 8:28)
If He can do it with the horrific torture and death of His beloved Son, He can certainly do it for You.

Because God IS good.
And everything He does is right.

Do you believe that?

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