Monday, September 21, 2009

Eden's Pram

I serve a God that is into details. He knows all things and plans the most intricate aspects of everything in our lives. I strongly believe this, so the following event really threw me for a loop, until Sunday that is. I have now come to see the most miraculous picture that God has ever shown me.

When Tina was pregnant with Eden, we found out rather early that she may have a genetic disorder. If she made it to birth, she would likely have Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome). We picked Eden's name very early in the pregnancy, and I am convinced it was given to us by God (see previous post). For the first 25 weeks of the pregnancy, we didn't buy anything for her because we were told repeatedly that she wouldn't survive. Perhaps this was a lack of faith, but I think I was just being practical.

After 30 weeks, we decided to do some shopping and put a few things on Lay-by (Lay-away for those in the U.S.). We needed a car seat, changing table and pram (stroller). The car seat and changing table were easy choices, but the pram was more difficult. There must have been a hundred options! Tina narrowed down the choices to one pram in three colours, but she wanted me to make final decision. While looking them over, the sales lady advised us that one colour was being discontinued and showed us the new colour which had replaced it. My jaw almost hit the floor when I saw it. The pram model was named Eden! Her name was even stitched on top and on the side of the it. We were elated and quickly made arrangements to have it set aside. Tina and I marveled at the event and both thought this was a subtle sign from God that Eden was going to be ok. We would end up pushing our baby girl in this beautiful new stroller after all.

Needless to say, our plans for Eden and her pram never came to fruition. Of all the events surrounding Eden, this one didn't make any sense to us. Was this just a coincidence? Were we reading too much into it?

Over the past couple of months, I have been teaching from 1 Samuel in our home group. We studied the lives of Hannah, Samuel, Saul and David. Many times I pointed out how God used various situations to build their faith and to show them how He was in control. The smallest details were under God's guidance. Part of me kept thinking back to Eden's pram and how God seemed to allow us to find it for no reason. Perhaps He wasn't a God of details. Perhaps there was such a thing as coincidence. I knew in my heart this wasn't true, but I was struggling. I spoke with several people about it and received the basic shrug of the shoulders and "I don't know" for an answer.

Recently I had a chance to sit down with a friend of mine, who is a man after God's own heart and someone whom I greatly respect, and shared these things with him. I can't recall our conversation, but I do know that it started me down a path of conversations with God over the following days. This is what I ultimately heard from Him:

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Me: God, why did you give us the hope of Eden's pram, only to have it all taken away?
God: John, I gave you Eden's name a long time ago. Have you ever wondered why?
Me: Because it's a beautiful name? Tina picked it after seeing one of her ultrasounds.
God: Yes, but was there any significance in the name? Think about all the time during the pregnancy, the birth and the seven days you had with her, was there any significance in her name?
Me: I can't think of anything specific.
God: Forget the pram issue for a moment. You say you believe I am a God of details and that's true. Do you think it was an accident I put Eden's name on your heart? Why not Jane, Jill or what Tina originally wanted, Wiley?
Me: I'm not sure. I thought it was a beautiful Bible name and sounded pretty.
God: It is actually a Bible place, and you are right, it is a pretty name.
Me: So what is the significance?
God: When you think of the word Eden, what comes to mind?
Me: It means paradise, my delight, beautiful. My little girl was so beautiful!
God: Yes she is. John, what do you suppose I think of when I hear the word Eden?
Me: I don't know. Paradise? Delight? Beautiful?
God: Yes, but even more. You see, the Garden of Eden was to be the cradle for humanity. I made a perfect world so I could walk, talk and spend time with you. I was looking forward to walking with you in Eden but was unable to because of sin.
Me: Were You disappointed?
God: No. That's not the right word. I know all things, so I can't be disappointed. I knew before the beginning of time that I was creating a place that would not be used, but that didn't prevent me from making it. I was sad because I knew humanity would suffer for their choices. I prevented Adam and Eve from eating from the Tree of Life because I didn't want them to live in this fallen, cursed state forever. I let them go because I love them. Do you remember that moment you had with your little girl?
Me: When I knew I had to let her go?
God: Yes. Why did you decide to do that? There were other options. You could have tried open heart surgery, lung surgery, a kidney transplant and dialysis.
Me: I knew it would only be a temporary fix. I didn't want her to suffer.
God: Good choice. To prolong her life in that way would have been selfish. You did it because you love her. Letting her go was best for her and most painful for you. In the same way, I let Adam and Eve go so they wouldn't suffer forever because I love them.

God: John. What would you have done for Eden, to make her well?
Me: Anything. Absolutely anything.
God: Would you have died for her?
Me: Yes! I would have gladly traded my life for hers.
God: Well, you weren't able to save her by giving your life, but I was. I love you so much that I died for you on the cross so we can walk together again in the new world. You will walk with your little girl then too.

God: Now let's talk about that pram. Don't you see the picture? You asked Me to show you the love of a father. You wanted a glimpse of My love for you. The pram was part of that picture, and that's why I had you name her Eden. That pram was where you planned to put her as you walked in the park and spent time with her. The very sin that came into the world in the Garden of Eden prevented you from spending time with your baby Eden.
Me: So in a very small way, I can relate to the pain you felt when you had to put Adam and Eve, and ultimately all of humanity, out of the garden because of our sin. You had an Eden pram that we would never use either.
God: Exactly.

Me: I think I regret ever saying that prayer. I think I was better off not knowing the love of a father.
God: John, I put that prayer on your heart. I was able to look forward in time and know what would happen. I could have changed things, but I decided to bring you through this trial rather than around it. I wanted good to come from this bad, so I spent time preparing you and Tina to grow stronger through all of this.
Me: God, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for all mankind, for our selfishness and pride and for not giving You a chance to walk with us in the Garden of Eden.
God: It's OK. That's why I sent My son Jesus to die on the cross, so we can have that time in the future. You'll have eternity with your precious girl too.
Me: Thank you God. Thank you for Your Son and for my daughter.

Me: So now what? What do I do with this information?
God: Share it with anyone who will listen. You have learned so much. Don't be selfish. Share it with others and tell them how much I love them.

Me: God, one more thing. Do you miss your walks with Adam in the garden?
God: Very much so.
Me: Are you looking forward to doing it again?
God: I AM.

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We frequently see people in the Bible go through difficult times so that others can better understand the character and personality of God. My prayer is that you will get a sense of how much it hurts God when we sin and turn away from Him. He loves us and provided a way to return to Him all because He wants to spend eternity with us in the new Eden.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

As I'm sitting in my livingroom reading this entry, tears are streaming down my face. I never pictured God missing us and longing for walks and talks with us in His perfect Garden of Eden. Reading this puts so much of life in perspective. It makes me long for heaven even more, but it also makes me not want to miss out on the close relationship I can experience with God here on earth. I know we will never grasp the depths of God's love for us, but this gives me another glimpse. I'm so glad God is a God of details and that nothing is coincidence. Thank you again for sharing your open conversation with God.
I love you both so much.

Linda

PeterB said...

Wow.

SSAT said...

What a beautiful comparison to the Garden of Eden. Thanks, for sharing your conversation with our Lord.

Anonymous said...

This is the most wonderful example of God's 20/20 hindsight I have ever read. I've shared it with others who I believe need to feel His love and longing. - xoxo Norm

Dean said...

Way cool John. I am always proud to call you and Tina my brother and sister, but after reading this post and clearing the tears out of my eyes, I thank God for giving me a brother and sister like you two. You two help me and Blake in ways you have no clue of. Love you guys mucho gusto.

Dean

Michael and Kim Adamski said...

I love this John - you are gifted with words... Eden's Pram sounds like the name of a book - I would've kept reading if there was more to read. Thank you again for sharing her life & your experiences.

Anonymous said...

Praise for your desire to share, your honesty, your frankness, for the tears that would have been in your eyes when your were typing this in. Praise for stopping to spend time, real time, with God, day after day. Praise for Gods Word, and your commitment to work with the greatest of counsellers. How great is our God - hey!
PJ

Anonymous said...

I have read and re-read your conversation with God. Our preacher preached out of Jeremiah last night, in chapter 10 where he says "woe is me for my hurt...." and I immediately thought of you both. He describes so graphically how he was feeling, his grief and pain. I'm so glad that we have a living God who will hear us when we talk to Him and the assurance that we will all walk and talk with Him and with Eden one day. Love you both. Mom

cindy45 said...

John & Tina

This is SO BEAUTIFUL i am in absolute tears but it has helped with the healing, i can't imagine your pain when mine doesn't seem bearable, i am So sorry for your loss but SO THANKFUL for eternity and getting the chance to see Eden, it still rips my heart out for many reasons but also to see the massive change in Tina just is so amazing and i cherish that so much, i pray so hard for you to hold another child, it will never replace little Eden as she is so precious and can't be replaced but for you to feel what walking in the park is like and hearing Mummy and Daddy, in Tina's speach at the funeral when she said 'heaven is a much more beautiful place cause Eden is in it' broke me apart because she is the only one i know in heaven but i am SO glad she is there and not anywhere else, this blog is SUCH a great testimony and i pray is blesses and encourages people that read it to know God, take care big brother Love

Fajita

you only live once said...

Thank you for sharing your story. As I read it, I kept thinking "7 days". God created the world and your world in Eden in 7 days. So sweet.

John Graves said...

Thanks for the comment. God actually created all things in six days... on the seventh, He rested! :)