My Garden

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. Romans 5:18

“One trespass resulted in condemnation for all people. You may be tempted to ask, is that fair?” began the preacher, “but I would then ask, do you really think you could’ve done a better job than Adam?

I heard shuffling on the row behind me as a voice, tiny but confident, squeaks out a strong “yes!” and the room erupts with laughter. It was the voice of a small girl, maybe four or five years old, and I was trying to hold in my own laughter as I took the girl’s feelings into account. The laughter died down, the pastor smoothed things over, and the sermon continued as though nothing had happened.

But in the corner of my eye, I saw the small girl crawl into her father’s lap. I heard her whimpering quietly. I was just enough distracted from the sermon to continue feeling sorry for the young girl’s embarrassing moment when I heard her father speak. Stroking her hair, I heard him say, “It’s alright, baby. Everything’s okay. I’m so proud of you for paying attention. You did so good.”

Aside from sharing this touching moment between father and daughter (parenting win!), I’ve told this story so that we might take a moment to think about that little girl’s point-of-view. When the pastor asked if anyone could’ve done a better job than Adam in the Garden, he was asking a rhetorical question. A question to make a point. A question that is meant to make you think and is not meant to be answered. Hence the hysterical laughter of 600+ people when that unknowing little girl gave her answer anyways.

The pastor’s point was that we would NOT have outdone Adam. I would’ve eaten the apple. You would have too. We can all be wise adults and own up to such things. Especially in church.

But in our heart of hearts, your heart and mine, do we really believe that? Because I know that day after day I find myself trying to out-do Adam in every aspect of my life. My Garden is just a little different than his.

We look at Adam and scoff because God literally gave him EVERYTHING besides that one tree. Everything. And we look back to the Garden and wish that we could have walked and talked with God. Adam did. How could you choose an apple over that?

But my Garden is no less filled with God’s presence, and my temptations are no more tempting. While Adam may have walked with God, I have Him in my heart. And while Adam felt God’s love though His grace and provision, all I have to do is look at the cross.

All of God’s people have been blessed through a relationship with Him, but salvation does not bring perfection–YET. Thanks to Jesus’s one righteous act, I will one day spend my eternity in Heaven. God WILL make me perfect! And until that day, I want to spend my every day on this earth striving to be more and more like Him.

But the important truth is, we can’t do it on our own. And that’s easy to say when we’re begging God’s grace. Easy to agree with when the pastor preaches it from the pulpit. But I hope that day after day as we continue to eat apple after apple, constantly proving our own unworthiness, that we will see ourselves as the little girl sitting behind me in church and understand that much of the time we DO think we could’ve done better than Adam; we try to prove that over and over again in our vain attempts at perfection.

So, while on this earth I may answer rhetorical questions and try unsuccessfully to direct my own heart, I’m thankful for a Father Who pulls me into His lap, strokes my hair, and says, “It’s alright, baby. Everything’s okay.” And thanks to the second half of the verse and God’s unending mercy, I can say with confidence that everything will be okay.

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. Romans 5:18

Thank you, Jesus, for justification and life.


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