In the beginning was… shalom. Everything was the way it was created to be. It was good. The creation account shows God’s creation being satisfied and whole – in work, in community, and in God. Then it fell apart. We all know the story. We have brokenness where wholeness once was. All creation seems to know it. The apple left the taste of an appetite that cannot be satisfied.
The state of the fall is an insatiable, unquenchable desire for more.
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon says that God has put eternity in the hearts of men and that trying to satisfy that longing with a substitute is meaningless, in vain, and futile. It is like chasing the wind. The tragedy in the Fall is that people move from their delight and dependence in God to trying and failing to find that satisfaction in something else. It always backfires.
CS Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
That’s the reason we did From Garden To City. To be introduced to this other world, to God’s story… to God. There’s a pattern: creation, fall, redemption, and recreation.
But what about today? Creation: check. Fall: double check. Redemption… half check? A sometimes check? Fullness, the recreation has not yet come. Somewhere in the redemption process, we learn that faith comes with a level of risk. The risk is living like the gospel is true in a world that screams its falsehood. It’s having the guts to pray, “your kingdom come and your will be done in my generation, in my life, in my city on earth, as it is in Heaven”. It’s a risk to go through the process of redemption. It’s a risk to live out the commission given in a perfect setting to “fill the earth and subdue it” within the context of a fallen world. There are beautiful things like friendship and love that seem to hint at the fullness we long for, but there are also unanswered questions and things we don’t understand. We find ourselves squished in the tension between what Christ has accomplished and experiencing that victory in full fruition.
In the gap between the garden in Genesis and the city in Revelation is God’s story of his grace. The crux is the person and work of Jesus Christ. We have glorious glimpses of how it ends and the guarantee of the Holy Spirit, but He is still writing his story.
In Chronicles 20, the Israelites learn about God’s faithfulness in the gap. They learn to praise God when surrounded by barriers and battles (specifically the Ammonites). God says in 20:15-17:
“Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s… You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed… the Lord will be with you.”
In the tension, God reminds them something about himself that is still true today: He takes our struggles upon himself and we become free worshipers. That’s the point of his story.