When I am looking for a good summer book to read, I like to find a nice long novel. I want to hold the actual book in my hand, and I want it to be thick with pages. When I turn the book over to read the back cover, I want the description to say, ‘epic’. I love my characters to be well-developed and my story to be long and detailed. See? I’ve already taken ownership of that story, like it’s mine. Because I want to step into that world and get lost in the tale. I love a good epic.
I left off yesterday with Adam and Eve, and you can catch up with that dialogue here (This is Not Where I Belong). God banished Adam and Eve from the garden because they had sinned, but God didn’t remove them from the story. They still belonged. He had work for them to do. In Genesis 1:28, it says, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it’.” They were called to bring children into the world. The very first dad and mom. I’d say that’s a pretty big calling.
I want to pause right here before we go any further and just delight in the fact that God uses sinful, fallen people to accomplish His work. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. Hope for us all.
Okay, now it may seem as though the story of Adam and Eve is all about them. Their garden. Their sin. Their calling. They are the only characters in the narrative, are they not? First there was Adam. Then there was Eve. And they were placed into a beautiful perfect garden.
No, they were not the only people in those first few pages of the Bible. God was already there. The story had begun before Adam arrived. In his book, Epic, author John Eldredge says God created Adam in Act Three. He goes on to say, “It is a beginning, but it is the beginning of the human story, of life on earth…. If you want to look back into the once upon a time before all time, well then you have to look back at another passage, from the gospel of John.”
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” John 1:1-3
John Eldredge continues “Now we are reaching back to things prior to Genesis. Once upon an eternity, if you will.”
I love that.
And this story that began long before Adam continues today with your life and mine — a grand epic of which our lives fit into a few paragraphs in the chapters surrounding 2000 AD. That is why I, too, chose to use that age-old phrase that we love to hear, ‘once upon a time’ to begin this series. The story isn’t about Adam. The story isn’t about me or you. The story is about God. And it is a very grand epic.
Once upon a time indeed.
Tomorrow we will begin to explore our place in God’s story. Where do we fit in? Are there sentences, paragraphs, chapters even, reserved just for us? Do we belong in the book? I think so… and I’m pretty excited about finding my place. I hope you are too.