And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17 ESV
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 ESV
Do you know the story of Pandora? Pandora was a gift from the Greek god Zeus to a man named Epimetheus. She was a beautiful wife. Zeus also gave Epimetheus and Pandora a box, but he told them never to open the box. Can you guess what happened? One day Pandora opened the box, and all the troubles in the world came out of it.
This is a little bit like the true Bible story, isn’t it? God planted a tree that he told Adam he must never eat from. He warned Adam that if he ate from the tree, he would die. But there’s a big difference between the two stories. God told Adam the truth about the tree. He wasn’t trying to trick Adam. God didn’t want sin to enter the world. Zeus was trying to trick Epimetheus. Zeus wanted there to be trouble in the world. Zeus made Pandora really curious so she would, sooner or later, open the box.
If God didn’t want trouble in the world, why did he plant a tree that could cause trouble? God was testing Adam. He wanted Adam to grow stronger and more obedient and more trusting. God tests us sometimes, too. He might let us have trouble that makes us wonder if God is real or if he loves us. Or he might let us see and hear things that tempt us to do something wrong. God helps us get stronger and more obedient and more trusting when we have troubles and tests.
We often don’t pass the tests. We do wrong things. We doubt that God is good or that he loves us. But there’s one person who always passed God’s tests. That was Jesus. Because Jesus was perfect, he was able to take our place and die for us. Now we know that nothing bad in the world, and nothing bad that we do, can separate us from God’s love.
Heavenly Father, please help us when you allow us to be tested. Thank you for sending Jesus so we can be forgiven. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.