By Joel Persinger
It’s a wonderful thing to experience God’s teaching. He teaches in such unexpected ways that it leaves me in continual awe of him.
By way of example, this past weekend we acquired three chickens and a coop. This may sound strange and I don’t blame you if you think so. After all, it wasn’t as if we were out looking for chickens and a chicken coops. I have a client who wants me to buy and resell his house and he had the chickens and the coop. Just making conversation, I asked him about them out of curiosity and he promptly asked, “Do you want ‘em?” And so, within a few short days our backyard was blessed with the presence of chickens.
Somewhere along the way, my wife reminded me that our daughter was going to be in a dance show at the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar. At first glance, this may seem to be totally unrelated to the chickens, but hang in there. I’ll tie it all together for you in a moment. Now, where was I? Oh yes… The fair… we couldn’t see ourselves missing the dance show, so we packed up our little future dance star and off to the fair we went. The dance program was wonderful. My little girl was a joy to watch. In fact, we were so elated by the event that when she asked if we could stay at the fair and ride the rides, her mother and I agreed (much to our collective wallet’s chagrin).
Somewhere in all the fun, my daughter won a fish! Now, it is my personal belief that pet stores are behind this. I say this because it is a well known fact that more fish tanks are sold as a result of kids winning fish at the fair than for any other reason. My wife will attest to this. While she was buying the obligatory fish tank at Walmart another parent was buying one too. Noticing what each other were about, they looked at each other, paused for effect and asked in unison, “Did your kid win a fish at the fair too?” It ended up costing us about sixty bucks to take care of that twenty cent fish. What a deal!
The day after our visit to the fair was Father’s Day. After church that morning we came home and just relaxed. I found myself sitting in the middle of the lawn in our backyard watching three chickens peck their way around the yard in search of bugs. It was one of the most interesting and relaxing things I have had the privilege of doing lately. There I was, sitting in the grass in the middle of the backyard among the fruit trees and chickens petting my dog and wishing it would never end. I must have been there for over an hour. Later that day, I caught myself doing the same thing watching the fish.
Both times I couldn’t help but wondering what Eden must have been like. Wildlife all around just being exactly what God intended them to be. It must have been a tranquil place before the serpent got involved. The memory of it must have tortured Adam and Eve every day of their lives.
Just for the record, I have never been to Eden. But, all of my life I have been drawn to such things. My family and I planted the fruit trees ourselves, we are planning a vegetable garden and I was overjoyed to be given the chickens and yes, even the fish. Somehow I wonder if God hasn’t instilled the memory of Eden in each one of us. Perhaps that is why so many of us are eager to be surrounded by things that remind us of a place where we have never been. Heaven will be like that, I think. It will be a place like Eden, a place where being still and knowing that God is God will be easy. Everything there will speak his name and rejoice at the sound of his voice and the very thought of him. And even better than Eden… there will be no serpents.