By Andrea Johnson
Judging by the sound of laughter and gleeful shrieks before we even rounded the corner of the tree-lined path to the neighborhood “hill,” we could tell we weren’t the only ones taking advantage of a perfect day for sledding. Our grandkids were over visiting, offering my husband and me the perfect excuse to play. The snow was just the right consistency, the sun shone brightly in a clear blue sky, and the wind was calm. Small children waddling about in their padded snowsuits would have looked more like live, chubby teddy bears than little humans had it not been for the huge grins on their faces.
Seeing all these families relishing this reprieve out in nature was just what our spirits needed after the world had been so dominated by COVID.
But then without warning, a shadow formed overhead in the clear sky and giggles were interrupted by a high-pitched screech as a huge hawk came soaring in from behind our little crowd, right over our heads, and into the tree line ahead of us. Dangling from its talons was the lifeless body of an unfortunate baby squirrel.
Our grandchildren have experienced enough of nature to not have been too traumatized by the incident, but it was a sobering realization of nature’s cruelty. And that’s the thing. Ever since Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden of Eden, all of nature has been cursed (Genesis 3) – humans, animals, even the ground. In his riveting testimony, David Ridgway tells about his experience of nearly dying from COVID. (Read Dave’s article.) When he was placed on the ventilator and given mind-altering hallucinogens, he experienced the sensation of being taken up into the sky, overlooking the earth. He could see how lost and full of sin mankind is. He saw “any and every kind of sin … even down to the animal kingdom,” with animals preying on each other.
Unfortunately, some people don’t grasp just how cruel “nature” can be. They think that if something is “natural,” it must also be good. (Think of sex without any boundaries.) They feel that people committing acts that used to be considered sinful are just acting in line with the way nature made them. In this sense they may even feel that they are “kinder” than God because they wouldn’t condemn someone for acting out on their base instincts.
And yet, a look at our current world overwhelmingly shows us that a person’s “nature,” a person’s natural tendencies, most certainly does lead them to sin. As adorable as they may look, even “innocent” babies are sinful creatures. They don’t naturally do the right thing. They must be taught to be kind and loving. They must be taught to control their emotions, to not lash out at everyone who bothers them. They must be taught self-control, to not give in to every desire that overtakes them.
As for feeling that they are “kinder” than God, only a depraved individual would want to leave another human being enslaved to sin. Sin, no matter how harmless it seems in the beginning, eventually leads to death. Always. Look at the homeless drug addict. Look at the person whose greed has cost them their family. Look at the man or woman who is never physically satisfied because they are held hostage by lust. Look at the elderly woman consumed by bitterness.
Thankfully Jesus Christ came to set us free from the bondage of sin.
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”1 John 1:8-9
For this reason, we can look forward to a time when sin will be annihilated once for all. Nature will be set free from its curse. The “wolf will live with the lamb,” not prey on him (Isaiah 11:6-9)! Until that day, let’s do our part to let people know they too can be set free from nature’s curse.
About the Author
Andrea Johnson, a credentialed Open Bible minister, is the managing editor of the Message of the Open Bible. A graduate of Open Bible College with a major in theology/missions, she has edited and co-edited several books, including Servants of the Spirit: Portraits of Pentecostal Pioneers, We Believe: Core Truths for Christian Living, and We Believe for Kids! Her goal is to reveal Christ to those who are searching for Him. In her spare time you will most likely find Andrea enjoying time with family and friends or hiking. She and her husband, Dennis, are blessed with four children, three of whom are married, and eight grandchildren.