As my name echoed through the loudspeaker, I sauntered across the stage to receive my college diploma. My friends were cheering my name, arduous academics were behind me, and I was feeling cute in my graduation threads. Let the adventure begin! Jesus and I were about to embark on a journey to change the world. With His anointing and my passion, nothing could hold us back . . .or so I thought.
Well, twenty-five years have come and gone since that day, and the story hasn’t unfolded quite like I pictured. Christ and I have made a mark, but it has not been in the ways that I had thought. I have birthed four children, served in my local church/community; though I have sought God and endeavored to blaze new trails, those doors have not opened yet. My zeal for ministry has not ebbed; I am still passionate about reaching the planet, but I have reconciled myself to the fact that God’s ideas of ministry and impact might not mirror mine (Isaiah 55:9).
Honestly, I have felt forgotten at times as I have seen women many years younger writing bestsellers, sharing testimonies of countless salvations, gracing the grand stage, and serving God in ways that I had dreamed about. I would love to say that I have matured beyond any form of envy or comparison, but, well, just pray for me! It is in moments of restlessness that I choose to embrace God’s plans and timing because they are perfect even when they don’t feel perfect.
If we turn back the pages of time and visit the Garden of Eden, we will find another woman who struggled to believe that God’s best was absolutely best. Eve was surrounded by a beautiful garden, complete with husband, fruit, and the presence of God. It was a fairy tale until Satan skulked his way into paradise and tempted Eve to doubt God’s plan and eat of the forbidden fruit.
The serpent hissed, “For God knows that when you eat from it [the tree of the knowledge of good and evil], your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5). OK, may we pause here for a minute? Knowing good is one thing, but why on Earth would Eve sign up to know evil? Obviously, she didn’t comprehend what we now know about evil—it can devastate the spirit, soul, and body if given the opportunity. Let’s continue. Eve noted that the tree “desirable for gaining wisdom,” (Genesis 3:6) so she naively bit into what would become the destruction of the world that she knew. Consequently, she was cast from the perfect garden, and by Genesis 4, she was clothed in itchy fig leaves instead of purity (yikes!), suffered the loss of two of her sons, and faced a litany of other adversities. Eve missed the best plan of God while reaching for what she thought was better. She traded wisdom for knowledge, eternal for temporary, and infinite possibilities for finite realities.
Since the Garden of Eden, mankind has pined for what God willingly provided in the beginning—perfection. Creation itself groans for reestablishment of what once was (Romans 8:19). But wait, here’s the good news: Jesus paid for the sin that started in the Garden and has wreaked havoc ever since; He exchanged our fallenness for His victory. Our sordid past no longer defines our nature; now Christ’s Spirit moves in and through us, healing our bodies, restoring our minds, and filling our spirits (Romans 8:11) (Romans 8:6). We carry His mission and authority as we do daily life, and God promises to work all things together for good to those who will love Him and follow His purpose instead of their own (Romans 8:28). Flip to the end of your Bible, and you will see that because of Christ’s sacrifice, we will once again walk with God in the cool of the day and bask in the blessings that He desired for us all along. Even the Tree of Life that seemed lost forever when mankind was banished from the Garden is perfectly situated in Paradise (Revelation 22:2).
Though we eagerly anticipate our Heavenly home, you may be tempted to choose your own path instead of God’s in the meantime. I can promise you that man’s way eventually ends in disaster, just ask Eve. The same God who planned the matchless Garden knows the plans that He has for us, and they are amazing (Jeremiah 29:11). So wherever you are right now, turn your heart to Him and hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit as He leads you in His best. Instead of tasting the fruit of bitterness or disappointment, taste, see, and believe that the Lord is always good!
Jeanine Dyal Kabasakalian
Radio DJ, Worship Leader, Song Writer