Breaking and Entering: Thoughts on Suffering
When someone’s home is robbed, the victims often say they feel as though their house will never be the same again, as if the intruder has left a permanent scar upon a place once considered safe. Many of us felt that same sense of violation when our security and stability were violently stolen on September 11, 2001.
While this is many Americans’ first taste of national insecurity, it is by no means the first time such a theft has occurred. The attacks on the U.S. are a chapter in an age-old story that begins in Genesis 3. Adam and Eve’s garden residence was positively paradisiacal. Suddenly, their home was invaded by the presence of evil in the form of a serpent, who tempted them to rebel against God and eat the one fruit he had forbidden. God watched as Adam and Eve not only accepted the intruder into their home, but invited him to stay. And so evil received a key to this world and made itself at home here.
Through the lies and temptations of the Evil One in the garden, sin entered our world. As a result, the world ceased to be a safe and secure place. Millennia after the Eden episode, we still see the evidence of stolen innocence all around us. The evil in this world constantly threatens to crush the righteous and take their hope away. There is precious little in this world that is not tainted by the thief’s fingerprints.
And yet there is reason to hope. In describing the righteousness vs. evil conflict that would ensue as a result of the deception in Eden, the Lord said to the serpent, the Evil One, And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”1
Right then and there, God stated the outcome of the incident in the garden. He said that, yes, the serpent will do damage, but not forever. This verse tells of one who comes and brings justice to the thief for his crime.
King David believed in the promises God made in the Garden of Eden. He was assured that, “…the Lord loves justice and does not forsake his godly ones; they are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked will be cut off…the transgressors will be altogether destroyed…but the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their strength in time of trouble.”2
Knowing that God promised to destroy evil in the future gave David hope for the present. Today our minds may be filled with images of destruction, and our hearts full of fear, but we also would do well to remember God’s promises, not only the one he made in Genesis 3, but the many others that are recorded in Scripture. The prophet Jeremiah recounts one such promise: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”3
There is a time coming when we will no longer have to constantly be on guard against evil. This is because there was another who “broke into” our world, not as a crafty serpent, but as a miracle baby. His mother named him Yeshua, which means “salvation.” When this child grew up, he proclaimed to all who would listen, “…in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”4 Yeshua did not come to take our security from us, but rather to give us a security unlike any we had ever known. He came to earth to atone for our sin. Yeshua the Messiah is the one God spoke of in Genesis 3. He clearly stated his purpose: “…The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”5
Our ancestors made the mistake of listening to the words of a thief whose desire is to rob us of life and hope. But God sent Messiah Yeshua, who gave up his own life for us. Yeshua offers eternal life to those who trust in his atoning sacrifice. By giving those who believe in him such an inextinguishable hope, Yeshua has dealt the Evil One a crushing blow. While the serpent is still at work in the world, he can never take that hope away.
Messianic Jews believe that the Hebrew Scriptures tell of a Messiah who comes twice, the first time as a suffering servant, and the second as a conquering King. When Yeshua the Messiah comes again, he will force the thief to give back his key to the world once and for all…and paradise will be restored.
So remember September, but don’t let the thief steal the hope of spring.
1. Genesis 3:15
2. Psalm 37:28, 38, 39
3. Jeremiah 29:11
4. John 16:33
5. John 10:10