That’s my response to God sometimes when I don’t get something I badly want. Why is what I want so bad? Why won’t you just do it my way for a change? It’s the deception the enemy clouds our vision with that makes us second guess God’s intentions, and ultimately His wisdom and nature.
If I can think the thing God gives, takes or delays is not as good as what I want or the way I would have done it, then I can’t believe that He is wise and loving, now can I?
This issue isn’t new. It started with Eve. We know the story. Adam and Eve were told that they could eat of every tree but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Every tree… So no matter the fruit, or the number of times they wanted to taste of it, they were free to eat of every tree but that ONE.
What they had access to was far greater in quantity and quality (The Tree of Life) than what they were told to avoid. But like so many of us this was made to seem as if it wasn’t enough. The one thing that they were told to avoid, the enemy in all his cunning deceived Eve into focusing on, and doubting God’s intentions towards her.
First step confusion
The first step in getting us to doubt God is to confuse us about the exact instruction. The opening line of the serpent was well crafted to sow seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind. This was the setup needed to then magnify what was restricted as if God was withholding. “Did God say you can’t eat of any tree?”
That question implies all the trees are off limit. We read the scripture and we know that’s not what God said. The serpent knew that too, but His game plan is to throw us off.
The same is true for our own version of a forbidden fruit. “Did God say sex is bad?” “Doesn’t God love you, so go do whatever you want.” The first step to making us believe that God is holding out is to confuse us about His word. At that point we are primed for the kill. If we don’t know exactly what God’s instructions are - which were given in His Word - we will lose at first advance.
I read the story of Eve wishing I could jump through time, run towards her flailing my arms, yelling NOOO! It’s a trap! God loves you. He gave you so much more. Yet I wondered would she even have listened. The hook of doubt had already sunk deep into her heart and mind and the enemy only needed to do one more thing. Make her focus on the forbidden fruit and see its “benefits”.
That’s in essence what we all do. God says do this, or not do that and we turn our eyes to look at the thing and assess all its benefits and wonder, why in the world would this be bad for me? Surely, God made a mistake. Or we think, maybe we misunderstood the instructions given in His word. Or better yet, that only applies to Biblical culture back then, it doesn’t apply now.
I see it in how we rationalize letting our feelings, our own understandings, culture and even past experiences dictate our choices instead of God’s instructions. None of us are above this kind of deception. We look at what we want and get deceived into thinking that bypassing God’s way of doing things is better -or at least shorter.
That hindsight is a beast. The moment when we look at what we have done and realize in the end it wasn’t worth it. “Imagine what Eve thought in those moments after being thrown out of the garden, and out of God’s presence.”
6 Incline my heart to Your testimonies,
And not to covetousness.
37 Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way.[a]
Stacy-Ann Smith is a young writer from the West Indies and the 2017 International Young Writer Theology Award.