When you decide to bake a cake from scratch you begin by getting all the ingredients before you. You pull out the flour, sugar, butter, eggs, etc., You get out the baking pans and coat them or line them. You get out the measuring cups and spoons and you begin to measure out each ingredient in the recipe. You begin with the prep work or preparation to bake the cake.
When a couple is expecting their first baby they too begin with the prep work. They convert a bedroom into a nursery. They buy a crib and a car seat and have the car seat installed in the car. They buy diapers and baby clothes, etc,. There is a great deal that goes on in preparing for not only giving birth to the baby but also in bringing the baby home. A kind of path is made in the preparation of having a baby. A path that wasn’t there before. They are making room in anticipation for the arrival of someone new into their lives and home. This is all part of preparation.
In the bible there was a man named John who is referred to as John the Baptist. He too was expecting an arrival of One who was to come. John was born before his cousin, Jesus, and John began to preach about how we each need to “prepare the way of the Lord”. There was work to be done before Jesus came into the fullness of His earthly ministry. We were to prepare our hearts by ridding ourselves of all the things that would hinder us from hearing and receiving Jesus’ message. John was cutting a new path in a type of wilderness. It was a wilderness that didn’t know the Messiah was coming soon and didn’t care. It was a wilderness of broken social systems and even more broken religious systems. It was a wilderness filled with false gods, idol worship and denying the poor, sick and elderly the basic provisions for life and then blaming them for being poor, sick and elderly. It was a type of forest that John was trying to hack his through to prepare a path for Jesus to come and walk on.
Today, it is no different. Even though we don’t appear to have a John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus’ return, I believe that the church has carried on his work of preparing the way for Jesus to come back.
The first time that Jesus came to earth, He came to serve. He came as a humble man Who lived like we do. But, the next time Jesus comes back He is coming back in power. He is coming back with a sword to separate, divide, rule as King and unite the world into one kingdom which will be His kingdom. But, it is the dividing and separating process that He is doing now in preparation for His return. And the coming judgment is a type of separation or division. In the judgment Jesus will separate those who have believed on Him and followed His kingdoms laws before His return from those who did not.
In the very first book of the bible, the book of Genesis, God begins the whole accounting of the activities of this world that are important for Him to tell us by stating that as He was creating the world for habitation He had to separate and divide. The earth was formless and void. There was chaos and a mishmash conglomeration of all these parts that needed to be sorted out after they were created. Much like the first example above in baking a cake where the baker had to pull out from all the things she had in her cabinet for cooking a variety of meals those things she specifically needed to make a cake. She separated out the ingredients from the other food staples on the shelves. She separated the bag of flour from the cans of beans. She separated the bag of sugar from the boxes of cereal. So too did God. He had a chaotic mess all jumbled together and what He did was to separate the “waters above from the waters below”. He organized the chaos to make dry land appear so that He could eventually have a place where sustainable life could live on the earth. In essence, He made a pathway for mankind to inhabit earth where there had been no pathway before since there had been no earth before this to place mankind on.
This is what Jesus is doing in heaven right now which we see the results of here on earth. Jesus is having His followers all become John the Baptists and through them He is preparing this earth not just for His eventual return but for the establishment of His kingdom on the earth. And in order to do that there will be times when there appears to be chaos and confusion. But, that is to be expected in the creation process of His coming kingdom. Just as the Father separated the waters above from the waters below and divided things into their proper proportions, setting them in their proper places, so too is Jesus. He is causing things to happen on this earth that will either make a person’s heart grow very cold towards Him or it will cause a person’s heart to yield and submit to Him. This is the beginning stages of separating the sheep from the goats. The sheep know their Master’s voice and follow Him. The goats are a stubborn breed that kick, buck and are stubborn. They are a defiant kind of people who refuse to yield and obstinately do things their own way.
So, how is this preparing the way now? Well, I was reading a newsletter to all the clients of my investment firm. They were stating that it may be a good idea to invest in baby products because of all the people who have had to stay at home due to the Corona Virus. With all the time they have at home together we may expect a large number of babies to be born at the end of December of this year. Couples who didn’t plan on having a baby will have their “oops” baby. But, this now puts them in the same shoes as a woman who is pregnant and trying to decide whether to have the baby or abort the baby. While many of these couples may have supported the Pro-Choice movement in the past, what will they do in their own life when confronted with an unplanned pregnancy? What will they do if their jobs have been lost or the company they worked for went under? What will they do when faced with the decision to either have the baby or abort the baby?
I think it is easy to stand at a distance from a situation and have compassion and sympathy for a woman who is suffering because of an unwanted pregnancy. Yet, it is far more difficult when you’ve really had to walk in their shoes and become part of the unwanted pregnancy group yourself. People who in the past have been able to say that they had the money to raise an “oops” baby may not be in that same financial position today. So, now God is watching. What choice will they make when they are in the thick of a tough situation? Will they turn to God for help and see their hypocrisy by supporting Pro-Choice when they themselves couldn’t get an abortion or will they become more distant and angry with God that He let this happen?
I’ve noticed that God does this with everyone. He doesn’t set them up in a trap but He lets them fall into the traps of their own making. He uses situations like an unwanted pregnancy to force us to choose what we will do and then He notes what choice we made. If that choice is poor and we are His child (are willing to take His correction) then we will repent and learn from our poor choice and consciously choose His ways. But, if our one’s choice is poor and they are not His child and are not willing to take His correction but become more obstinant against Him then He leaves us to fall into our own trap. We can’t outwit God.
So, those who choose to get an abortion or choose to keep their own baby but continue to stand with the Pro-Choice movement think that they’ve gotten away with….well, murder. They feel that they have outwitted God and have been able to have their cake and eat it too. But, that takes me back to this whole “preparation” thing I’ve talked about earlier. Be prepared for Jesus to be revealed as the Messiah. Be prepared that He is coming back to set up His kingdom and things will go His way. And be prepared that at the end there will be a judgment and each of us will have to stand before God and give an account of what we’ve done.
While that thought might not scare some, perhaps the thought of coming face to face with the child that they either aborted or encouraged another to abort. They will have to face that child and answer to them as to why they aborted them. They will have to face those children and answer to them as to why they encouraged others to abort them. They will come face to face with the Almighty God and there will be no place to hide and no answer good enough. The thought of that moment should scare everyone!
For many years, I have thought that if I had to pick just one word that could summarize the entire bible I would say the word, “choose”. Joshua 24:15 says (in part), “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve”. We all serve a god, whether we want to recognize it or not. God is looking to us to make a choice when it is clear that we avoid making any choices. We run, we hide, we cry and we rage as ways of avoiding facing our own selves and the choices we’ve settled for because we thought in making no choice we haven’t made any choice.
The scripture that is the basis for this blog is Genesis 2:9. It reads, “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” And here we stand, every day of our lives, even moment by moment in the middle of our own garden between the two trees. Eve chose poorly and we are all suffering for it. But, now that the choice is yours to make what will you choose?
What will you choose and then fight for? What kind of difference are you trying to make? One that lasts for your lifetime or one that lasts for eternity?
THE MIDDLE OF THE GARDEN…A BLOG TO SEE!…BY JANET WILLIAMS