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creating with the assurance of failure

May 12, 2010

As I was running an errand for work today, I caught sight of a quirky bumper sticker that read “God’s original plan was to hang out in a garden with some naked vegetarians.”

It made me smile and it also got the old mental cogs and wheels working. My first thought was, “Well, that wasn’t actually God’s original plan. If God saw the broad perspective of creation and those He would create, that tells me that He knew from the start that we wouldn’t stay in the garden.” Of course, I’m sure that the bumper sticker didn’t intend on being a piece of any sort of theological debate, but all the same, it had me thinking. (If we want to be even more theological, we could debate that the original plan is to start and end in a garden, but that’s a whole other topic.)

The way I see it, before Eden was even there or Adam was carved from the dust, He knew that we wouldn’t always be in the garden. He knew that the hours and days in that garden would be borrowed time. He created us even knowing that we wouldn’t remain as we should; that we would reject Him and fail Him and crucify Him over and over and over.

He created us with the absolute assurance of failure.

This tells me, not of the magnitude of human deficiency, but of the incredible weight of the love of our Creator. To think that He looked into his wildest imagination and saw me, flawed and blemished as I am, and thought, “I want to create her. I want to create her in such an unspeakable, unrepeatable way that there will never be anything else like her in the rest of the history of humanity. I love her so much that I will create her even when she rejects me and I will keep loving her when she does.”

I mean, seriously, whoa.

As one who finds the deepest joy and belonging in creating, I feel a kinship with this heart of my Creator. I face my own small acts of creation with the assurance of failure. Cakes will burn, souffles will fall, ideas will crumble, art will smear, words will fail. It’s inevitable.

But here’s the thing, dear ones:

I love what I create enough to do it anyway because I trust in what God has held in His deepest part since the beginning — the story is not over; creation is not done. Restoration is coming and resurrection is here.

[Photo credit here]

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 12, 2010 1:54 pm

    I think this meditation on the value of seemingly imperfect work is spot on!

    For some months I have been a related idea, about marriage.

    [As background, my wife and I have had a tumultuous relationship in our first 27 years, we were seperatd 3 times, the last for almost 5 years, culminating in divorce. We have since remarried – two plus years now – , and although things are much better, we are the same people we were.]

    We often see these “perfect couples” in the church, and think, longingly, “Now THAT is a Godly marriage!” But I don’t think so. If we see the predominate image of God and His people in the bible as marital (parental is strong, but I think marital is primary), then we have to say that whether we are thinking of OT Israel, the NT church, the church over the last 20 centuries, or with me today; God is in a pretty flawed relationship. His bride, his intended, his beloved, is far from faithful, and certainly does not return His love in the same mesure with which it is extended. And yet (and this is the kicker), He still thinks that this relationship is enormously valuable. It is one for which He is willing to lay down His life, and has in fact done so. He loves us with that fierce passion we think about only in novels. He is the Archtype of that “unrequited love” theme, that is all made right at the end of the story (Rev. 21, the marriage of the Lamb). And so it is with my own less-than-perfect marriage. Sometimes I’m the good guy, and more often, not; but it doesn’t matter. Even if I were perfect and faultless (perhaps especially then) God shows me how I am to cherish that which He has givin me, imperfect as it now is.

    As you point out so well, His eternal theme and purpose is to draw all these “imperfect” things to Himself, completing and redeeming that which is His, that which we acknowledge as His.

    -R. Eric Sawyer

  2. Caroline permalink*
    May 12, 2010 9:00 pm

    @ R. Eric!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story — what a powerful tale of redemption in the midst of suffering. I rejoice to see the ways God is entering into your brokenness and am so pleased that you could find some kinship in this particular piece.

    Thank you for reading!

  3. April 14, 2011 8:12 pm

    TYVM you’ve solved all my poreblms

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