Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.
The fateful morning began as usual. I fed the birds, started my own breakfast, then strolled out to get the newspaper. Whenever I traverse the driveway, be it on foot or in my car, I scan the flower beds on either side, checking for any new plant developments.
As is often the case, I spotted a lovely sight – the freezing overnight temperature had left the ornamental cabbage encased in frost. Seeing them glistening in the sunlight, I knew I had to get a photo! I hurried inside to retrieve my phone and returned to capture the image.
Although I’d walked the same stretch just minutes before with nary a stumble, the second time around, I stepped on an unseen rock, turned my ankle, and crashed onto the cold concrete. My phone clattered to the ground next to me, leaving me to wonder which of us had suffered the most damage.
I was stunned, but my embarrassment superseded my shock, and I got up quickly lest anyone should spot me, prostrate on the driveway.
My right knee complained mightily, and the palms of my hands stung from their encounter with the concrete. Still focused on my goal, though, I winced as I hobbled over to the mailbox bed, took the photo, and limped back into the house.
And then it hit – nausea and light-headedness washed over me. I had to sit down to avoid passing out. Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten up so quickly. Perhaps it would have been better to lay there for a moment, to absorb the shock, even if it meant being seen. After all, I’m confident my neighbors would have come to my rescue had they observed my plight, and I could have used a steadying hand and some sympathy.
My right hand was swollen and discolored, and both knees sported bruises for days after my tumble. As I contemplated how quickly I went from upright to prone, my thoughts turned to THE fall. You know, the one described in Genesis 3.
Unlike my situation, Adam and Eve had been warned. God set a clear boundary when He told them they could eat of all the trees in the garden except for one – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). But the serpent was crafty, and the fruit was a delight to the eyes. Eve ate and then offered the fruit to Adam, who readily joined her.
In a moment, everything changed for them and all who would come after them. Sin entered in, opening the door to death. Undoubtedly Adam and Eve’s abrupt fall was as stunning and disorienting as mine. They plummeted from their privileged position, no longer able to enjoy sweet, unhindered fellowship with God. Instead, their eyes were opened to their nakedness, and when they heard the sound of God walking in the garden, they hid, much as I scrambled up from the pavement, lest anyone see me.
But, we can’t hide from God (Psalm 139:1-16).
A Plan and a Promise
God wasn’t surprised by Adam and Eve’s disobedience. He came to the garden as usual and drew them out of hiding. When they blame-shifted their way through a confession, He declared the penalties they and their progeny would incur. However, God directed His initial comments to Satan. The curse He pronounced on the serpent held the promise of a Savior for His wayward children.
Before the foundation of the world, Father and Son purposed to save those chosen in Him, a people for themselves, a treasured possession (Ephesians 1:3-6; Revelation 13:8). It would cost the Son His life to redeem the fallen, those stumbling around, their steps hindered by sin. As He breathed His last, hanging on the cross, Jesus uttered, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) The curtain in the Temple was torn in two, signifying the removal of the barrier between God and His people. Our relationship thus restored, we can once again enjoy intimate fellowship with God.
Jesus’ atoning death makes it possible for us to approach the throne of grace to receive mercy in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Furthermore, when Jesus arose on the third day, He secured victory over death, our ultimate enemy.
There wasn’t anything inherently wrong with my behavior the morning I tripped on the driveway. Still, there are times when I’ve intentionally chosen a path strewn with rocks and pebbles, much to my detriment. Eventually, I lose my footing. Yet, it’s then I’m oh-so-thankful I can’t hide from my loving Father who disciplines and restores me. Though I stumble, I won’t be cast headlong (Psalm 37:24). The Lord has promised to help and strengthen me, to hold me up with His right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
A snippet of lyrics from Rich Mullins’ song, “If I Stand,” has been playing in my mind as I’ve been writing. It makes a fitting prayer to end this post:
(Lord), if I stand let me stand on the promise
That you will pull me through
And if I can’t let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to You
 “If I Stand”, Rich Mullins, Steve Cudworth; Universal Music, 1988.