Life is really a series of choices. Everything is a choice. We’ve all made some choices that are better than others. And, I’m sure, we’ve all experienced the consequences of what I like to call “poor life decisions.”
The bottom line is we can choose to follow God or we can choose to follow the ways that lead us away from God. Or to put it another way: If sin separates me from God, why doesn’t God separate me from sin? Why doesn’t God remove from me the option to sin? Why did God give us…the choice?
Behind it all was a choice. A deliberate decision. An informed move. God did not have to do it, but chose to anyway. God knew the implications and was fully aware of the consequences.
The angels were watching as God was finishing creating. Placing one scoop of clay upon another until a form lay lifeless on the ground. All of the Garden’s inhabitants paused to witness the event. “This one,” God said, “will be like me. This one will be able to choose.”
Creation stood in silence and gazed upon the lifeless form. An angel spoke, “But what if…”
“What if he chooses not to love?” the Creator finished. “Come, I will show you.”
Unbound by today, God and the angel walked into the realm of tomorrow, “There, see the fruit of the seed of choice, both the sweet and the bitter.”
The angel gasped at what she saw. Spontaneous love. Voluntary devotion. Chosen tenderness. Never had she seen anything like these. She saw burdens shared. She absorbed the kindness and marveled at the warmth.
“Heaven has never seen such beauty, Lord. Truly, this is one of your greatest creations.”
“Ah, but you’ve only seen the sweet. Now witness the bitter.”
A horrible stench enveloped the pair. The angel turned in horror and exclaimed, “What is it?”
The Creator spoke only one word, “Selfishness.”
The angel stood speechless as they passed through centuries of repugnance. Never before had she see such filth. Rotten hearts. Broken promises. Forgotten loyalties. Children of creation walking blindly through labyrinths.
“This is the result of choice?” the angel asked.
“They will forget you?”
“They will never come back?”
“Some will. Many won’t.”
The Creator walked on in time, further and further into the future, until they stood by a tree. A tree would be fashioned into a cradle. Even then he could smell the hay that would surround him.
With another step into the future, they paused before another tree. It stood alone, a stubborn ruler of a bald hill. The trunk was thick and the wood was strong. Soon it would be cut. Soon it would be mounted on the stony brow of another hill. And soon he would be hung on it.
“Will you go down there?” the angel asked.
“Is there no other way?”
“There is not.”
“Wouldn’t it be easier to not give the choice?”
“It would,” the Creator spoke slowly. “But to remove the choice is to remove the love.”
They looked around and foresaw a scene. Three figures hung on three crosses. Arms spread. Heads fallen.
Men clad in soldier’s garb stood and sat on the ground near the trio. They played games in the dirt and laughed.
Men clad in religion stood off to one side. They smiled. Arrogant and cocky. They had protected God, they thought, by killing the false one.
Women clad in sorrow huddled at the foot of the hill. Speechless. Faces streaked with tears. Eyes cast down.
“It must be done…” the Creator uttered and withdrew.
As they stepped back in time, he heard the cry he would someday scream, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me!” And he wrenched at tomorrow’s agony.
The angel spoke again, “It would be less painful…”
“The Creator interrupted softly, “But it wouldn’t be love.”
They stepped back into the Garden again. The Maker looked earnestly at the clay creation. A monsoon of love swelled up within. God’s form bent over the scuplted face and breathed. Dust stirred on the lips of the new one. The chest rose, cracking the red mud. The cheeks flushed. A finger moved. And eye opened.
But more incredibly than the moving of flesh was the stirring of the spirit. “It looks like…it appears so much like…” The angel wasn’t speaking of the face, or the features, or the body. The angel was looking inside – at the soul.
“It’s eternal!” gasped another.
Within the person, God placed a divine seed. A seed of God’s self. The Creator had created, not another creature, but another creator. The One had chosen to love, and created one who could love in return.
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 1 John 4:7-12
Now, it’s our choice.