Extreme Love Day 1

gettingreadyforthecross.jpg“And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife. Then the Lord God said, ‘Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!’ So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden…” —Genesis 3:21–23a NLT

HOW IS THIS extreme love? After Adam and Eve chose to disobey, they felt the first negative emotion: shame. God did not shame them; it was the result of knowing what they were never meant to know. Unlike many human parents who continue to add to a wayward child’s embarrassment, God killed one of his creatures to make clothing and lessen their shame.

Did you grow up with “Shame on you!” ringing in your ears? Some adults use this phrase to control children’s behavior, but it pours contempt on a child’s head. God never intended for us to know shame. When Adam and Eve did experience shame, it was God himself who provided a temporary solution. God banished his children from the garden paradise he had made for them. God never intended for us to know evil. When he sent Adam and Eve away from the garden, it was so they would not have to live with evil forever. Death would now be a grace-filled release from the hard life ahead.

As a young person, I never thought much about death, and certainly not my own. The longer I live, the more I understand the deep, anguish-filled love of God. When I know the place he is preparing for me, when I know I can trust his sacrifice for my sins, I can trust his extreme love plan—eternity with him.

Lord, the psalmist wrote that you do not take any delight in the death of your children. Yet death is a provision to free us from the painful results of living in shame amidst all the evil around us. It is also the door through which we pass to live with you forever. Thank you for your extreme love, providing a solution through Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.

– Karen Helsel, Sunnyside, Washington

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