“Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Genesis 2:9
It’s right there in the text. It’s in black and white and has been since the beginning.
In the Garden of Eden, that beautiful place that I have felt such sorrow and longing over, God caused every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food to grow. He also caused two important trees to grow—the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
There are two trees. Two.
I missed it.
I just skipped passed that tree of life and focused on my anger at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I channeled my energy toward the negative moment in the garden when the serpent deceived Eve. I believed it was Eve’s fault and thought up a few choice words for her. I labeled all men by the silence of Adam.
I missed it.
I focused on the separation. I zeroed in on how these two people had everything and the one thing God told them not to do, they did. I felt like Adam and Eve were like the field goal kicker on an NFL team—one job. So, how on earth could they screw it up for the rest of us?
I missed it.
My gaze was drawn to their shortcomings, which in turn pointed to mine. Of course I would have sex at a young age. Of course I would get pregnant before I was married. Of course I would be a disgrace. Of course I would never live up to the standards God sets, I was a daughter of Eve.
I missed it. I believed the lie that I was sentenced to Eve’s separation and there was nothing to be done about it. The garden disaster was somehow about me, pointing me to a life of whoring myself out to anything and anyone but God.
Yes. But God caused two trees to grow out of the ground. I had only been looking at one.
My mistake, though common, would be like staring up at the Sistine Chapel for thirty-five years and only looking at the trump l’oeil columns. Being sucked into a trick-of-the-eye when there is a masterpiece to behold in full color. I would have sacrificed seeing the most famous piece where God is stretching out his hand to Adam and Adam his hand to God. That energy between them both longing for the connection. The intimacy intended. The electricity portrayed in the reality that Adam could touch God. The anticipation in that glorious moment like two lovers coming together before a passionate kiss.
This is the tree of life—longing for connection, intended intimacy, the reality that I can touch God, and the anticipation of the glorious moment when I meet God face-to-face.
This is it. This is what I’ve been missing. This is the focal point—that God always intended intimacy with his children. That God wants to be intimate with me, here and now, and that a relationship with God is not about good or evil, but life.
I can hear freedom ringing. I can sense my wings spreading. I can feel the presence of God, and I can hear him singing over me.
Friends, I have been looking at the wrong tree. Trying to make my way back to God. I have prayed and volunteered and fasted until I am stark raving mad with awareness of my own flesh. And now I can only describe the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in more detail, not to mention my flesh.
The tree of Life though, that inviting endless discovery of God, intimately connected to my heart by His Spirit inside of me, is offering shade.
Friends, we have this big wonderful God who loves us intimately. We have a Life from which to draw from—our visions, our movements, our love, our rest. Consider taking that Life in and resting with Him. It’s under that tree we will begin know God intimately.