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It was the question asked in her darkest hour:

How does one live in freedom from the eternal penalty of sin, when this earthly life is so full of temporal penalty/consequence/damage from that sin?

Speaking mid sobs, cheeks drenched with tears, my friend told of grown children who no longer believe in the God of their mother. Watching her older children suffer from their parents’ divorce, and then from the repercussions of her years living apart from God, has resulted in too heavy a burden for her to continue carrying.

At times the sorrow renders her incapable of functioning normally from day to day. Tears moisten her pillow from the moment she lays her head down, for nights of restless sleep, until rising the next morning… awaking to another day of despondent and seemingly endless misery.

Laying blame for all kinds of wreckage in her family at the feet of…

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Herself.

My friend’s kids grew up without a father’s fidelity, and without a Heavenly Father’s strong influence to undergird. Now with battered relationships and broken dreams, she is subjected to watching them live independently of the One Who made them, the One Who desires to be at the center of their world…

This mom—now older, wiser, and back in the arms of her Heavenly Father—wonders through sobs why the heartache must continue…

In journeying toward our Eternal Home where weeping will exist no more, why must every step toward Eternity be ravaged by tearful suffering, she asks.

Yet, before I try to provide an answer, I too have a question:

What about Eve? Creation’s first woman, designer-labeled, one-of-a-kind-complement to Creation’s first man…

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And mother of all living…

After the Fall, how many nights did she cry herself to sleep? Can we number the times she replayed that unforgettable scene—engraved in time immortal—when first she reached beyond the boundary God had put in place, for the one fruit not meant for human consumption…

As the serpent stood by… watching and waiting?

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So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked…  –  Genesis 3:6-7

After the Great Confrontation with their Maker, she and Adam were escorted—abruptly, irrevocably, without argument—out of the Garden, forever evicted from their first home.

Their new life brought drastic changes, foreign circumstances they were completely unprepared for…

Literally carving an existence from the rugged terrain, how many sunsets did she watch, begging the golden orb to retreat, longing to feel beneath her feet the earth’s reversal of its coursing through the sky, to take creation back days and hours, to that one moment before Paradise was lost?

How many days in her long life did she walk back to the east side of Eden, hoping against hope to discover it had all been a horrible nightmare? Yearning to find the flaming sword was only a mirage, longing to gain entrance, wishing to go back to those earlier days, before she tasted the fruit of sinful desire…

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And how many hours did she watch her husband labor in fields, wrestling with weeds, hacking, digging, chopping… only to run and try to escape the image, to hide in a corner where she could cry—solitary and unseen, carrying all alone the burden of her misery for decades, even centuries?

As daylight descended, he left his toil to refresh himself in the small structure he shared with his wife. The muscular limbs were often injured and calloused by the harsh reality of a world cursed by sin… The only thing she minded while soothing oil onto her husband’s cuts and bruises, was seeing him wince with pain. They hadn’t known pain before now.

Was her conscience also stung repeatedly as the truth became her mantra…

All because of you, your doing, you’re to blame—not him, not the serpent, not anyone, just you…

In remembering the bliss of Eden, in accepting their life in the world outside Paradise, their former life upended, never again to go back, never deleting the mistake for a replay… how many tears had been shed by the Mother of all Living, where the garden no longer existed, where innocent joy was no longer within reach?

Birthing two sons brought fresh delight to the young family.

Caring for little ones’ needs filled her days with blessing. The tears flowed less frequently as she nurtured tender souls, introducing them to the wonders and dangers surrounding their home. Watching her sons work behind their father, and joining their playtime, all served as distractions from the reminders of her failure… Memories of Eden had almost faded into a distant dream.

Eve determined to savor the moments blessed by peace and lined with hope, while her boys grew into men.

Yet, as years past, her two sons played less and argued more. So different, they were.

Then one day blood spilled… a son was buried. And suddenly another kind of death had entered their lives.

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More tears shed—in a strangled weeping her mother’s heart had never known.

After her firstborn murdered his brother—her gentlest boy—a deluge of questions bombarded her mind.

The one being, In giving them all I had… what more could I have done?

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For the millionth time she begged God to forgive her… If only she had known what would come, if only she were given a second chance… she would choose differently.

Etchings of pain scarred her heart and life. Each new day she awoke to continue the former day’s mourning for Abel and grieving over Cain.

How many times did she ask, Will the pain never end? Why these fleeting joys to mock the reality of a heartache that never ceases?

To be continued…

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