What if devotions are intended to be less of a chore and more of a gift…like a walk in a garden?
I love the verse in Genesis 3 that says,
They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day… (Genesis 3:8)
In this verse “they” are Adam and Eve. I think it’s beautiful that God used to come and walk with them in the Garden of Eden. In the cool of the day, He came, to walk with them in companionship. The sad thing, of course, is that Adam and Eve rebelled by disobeying God and eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And that is why, when they heard God in Eden, they,
…hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)
I know a little bit how Adam and Eve feel because when I start fussing about how far from perfect my heart is, well, then I stop wanting to walk with God in companionship through devotions.
The funny truth is that I know that God knows the exact state of my heart at this moment. And I know that He knows it better than I do. And yet when I’m embarrassed about the state of my heart — the worry, the tiredness, the preoccupation, the hurt about the blessings that are missing, the ingratitude for the blessings which are mine in abundance — I hide from God.
As Adam and Eve discovered, of course, hiding from God doesn’t really work.
He called their names. He confronted their sin. And although He barred them from the fruit of the Tree of Life, He provided a solution to their problem for them and all of us, a solution that involved another man in another garden.
The man was Jesus and the garden was the Garden of Gethsemane when He said,
My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death. (Matthew 26:38)
Christ knew the price that He was going to pay so that Adam and Eve’s descendants — all born in sin — could be forgiven and united with God. He groaned under the burden, the weight of sin, but He didn’t flinch. He determined to pay the price and redeem all those who believe in Him. So that we don’t have to hide He said,
My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will. (Matthew 26:38)
Jesus got up early, Himself, to pray (Mark 1:35). I love His divinity and His humanity! He wanted to walk in companionship with God. He had no need to hide. And yet, another morning, He got up early to make breakfast for His disciples (John 21:9). He understands our humanity and I think He understands things like sleepless nights and busy mornings.
And yet — because Christ came and died and rose and not only redeemed us from sin, but united us with God — we can walk with Him in companionship.
Our devotions can be like a walk in a garden — a time of refreshment, a time of kindred spirits meeting and talking, a time of beauty and rest and celebrating the fact that we don’t have to fuss and hide.
All we have to do is be there and reach out to God through Christ.