I think we all have one of those places. There is a place in the world, out in creation, where you go and experience a deep feeling of contentment, awe, and peace. Perhaps you don’t get to visit that place very often or maybe you get to visit it daily. Maybe that place for you has awe inspiring heights and heart pounding sights. Or maybe your place is more like mine – quite, tree covered and, as of last night, covered in a fresh 3 inches of glistening white snow. I frequent this place daily during the summer and regrettably far less during the cold New York winter months. When I am there my spirit is ever conscious, my mind calms, and I feel a sense of connectedness. As I walk down one of my favorite trails the cool morning air refreshes my lungs and ears are honed as the trees sway in the light breeze. The trail opens to a field, the vegetation growing is random and haphazard, not like the nice commercially planted rows of whichever crop was planted. As I look out on the field and turn to look at the forest I just walked through, I can’t help but quietly reflect. Was this what it was like at the beginning?
As marvelous as my place is to me and yours to you, think about what Eden must have been like. To describe it would be an impossible task, I think, but, in a word: perfect. Creation touched by nothing other than the Creator’s hands. Animals, flowers, lakes, streams, oceans, trees, all perfectly crafted, not yet effected by the choices made by God’s capstone. God’s creation perfect, plan in place, it was now time for humans to live in this perfect place.
Designed to hunt, gather, and cultivate food themselves all with the knowledge that God would take care of their every need. Imagine that. Not having to worry about where the next paycheck was coming from, if there is going to be enough in that paycheck to pay all the bills and feed your family. Imagine the good work that would be done. Freed by the ever present knowledge that we’re going to be okay no matter what, and getting to work on our mission.
This is an interesting thought, isn’t it? What would it have been like to live in a world not yet corrupted? How would life look differently? Could it be that we’ve lost something in the eons of time between then and now?
We talk about health, fitness, exercise, and taking care of ourselves so that we can benefit the Kingdom of God to our maximum potential. The struggle that we often deal with is why? What’s the point? I’m not sure I have the perfect answer but it starts with the beginning. Compare our current lives with the lives briefly described above. Everything is different. We don’t hunt our food. We don’t gather our nutrients. Neither do we cultivate our own land. Instead, we sit for hours a day at work, and then we sit some more in front of a box at night. We don’t do what we were designed to do anymore.
Ask anyone who hunts or grows their own food. It’s not any easy task. Yes, it has been made easier over the years with advancements in technology, but still takes a lot of effort. This work was built into our DNA. We were designed to be active and expel effort daily. Originally, it was a matter of survival. If you didn’t hunt, gather, or grow your food you weren’t going to live long. Now, with the availability of food, there is really no dire need to hunt or gather. We’ve gone from being an outside-in-the-created-order people to inside-disconnected sitters. How tragic.
The weekend is coming up. My challenge is this: simply, go outside. Slow down the pace of life a little. Consider how it was in the beginning. Open your spirit to God’s movement as you hike, walk, run, or bike somewhere. Be thankful for the things you have and provisions God has made for you. And take a look at the created order around you. God made it and we’re supposed to be in it. We were designed to live in communion with God, with others, and the creation around us. That was how it was in the beginning and that is how it should be now.