Read: Genesis 2:7-18; Genesis 3:3:1-15; Luke 24:13-27
There are so many thoughts that pour into my mind on September 11. This morning as we watched and listened to all that was said to honor heroes and loved ones, both living and deceased, many memories that were shared were meaningful to me. I thought about several different directions this writing could take; however, when push came to shove, it was a memory from 2001 that finally stood out for me. May I explain?
That Tuesday morning 20 years ago, I was in the living room watching TV when it was reported that a plane had crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. I remember calling to my husband. I wanted him to know about what I thought was a terrible accident. It never crossed my mind that we had witnessed anything but a tragic event that most likely had been the result of a malfunction perhaps in the plane's engine? However, it didn't take long before we began to understand how wrong our first impressions had been. When the second plane smashed into the South tower, I was truly shocked. Someone had actually done this evil on purpose. It was hard to believe, and as everyone now knows the news throughout the day revealed the fact that the malevolence of those involved had not only been planned against the World Trade Center but against the Pentagon and most likely also the Capitol. As details came to light during the following weeks, I found myself, once again, being surprised at the level of planning that had been involved in this wicked coordinated scheme. I had forgotten that in the 1990s, an earlier attempt had been made to destroy the World Trade Center; so, I shouldn't have been surprised at all by the depth of the horror of September 11. The terrorists who revealed themselves on September 11 were not the first ones who put in place a wicked plan to do the most possible harm.
Satan himself hatched a plan to bring devastation into the world because of his hatred of God and his desire to actually take honor that belongs exclusively to the Almighty One, Isaiah 42:8; Ezekiel 28:12-16; Isaiah 14:12-16. Imagine it. A created being planned to displace the omnipotent God. His desire was to steal and bring destruction and death upon God's most wondrous creation, human beings, Genesis 1:26-27; John 10:10. Let's look into the Garden of Eden to see not only the evil one's plan but also God's unfathomably greater plan of love and redemption.
In Genesis 2, we read about God's planned provision for Adam and Eve. I love reading about that prepared place God gave His precious couple. What is the most beautiful flowering tree any of us have seen? What is the loveliest scenery that any of us have enjoyed? How about the most luscious fruit that any of us have tasted or the sweetest aroma any of us have smelled? Do some beautiful images come to mind? No doubt even the loveliest sights we have experienced are merely like coming attractions shown before the not yet released movie, compared to what our Creator/Redeemer placed in the garden. They could revel in everything God had given them and discover the wonders of all that God had provided for them, with no taint of sin to mar their joy. They had a relationship with God, and there was only one restriction that was given to them. Everything else was a resounding yes, Genesis 2:15-17. However, into their beautiful world, an interloper came. He was armed not with bomb or gun but with a plan. He was ready to sow not weeds but a seed of doubt. Could this evil schemer speak words that would cause Adam and Eve to disobey God's one command? Tragically, the answer was yes, Genesis 3:1-8.
Thankfully, it is at this point that we come to understand that there is not merely one plan, Satan's, but another that had been prepared by God. God had already prepared a plan that would overrule the results that Adam and Eve's sin brought into their world and ours, Genesis 3:15. Although the evil one's enticement had brought unspeakable pain and anguish into the world, the fulfillment of God's plan would eventually bring an end to all the devastation Satan had planned. God had promised, Genesis 3:15.
Yet, what Adam and Eve could have not known was the depth of pain their disobedience would usher into the world nor the depth of love the Savior would pour out upon sinful mankind, Romans 5:6-11. Yes, Satan had a plan, but the Savior's plan was, and had always been, infinitely greater than the schemes of Satan. Let's go from the garden to join Cleopas, and an unnamed disciple and the risen Jesus as they walk together. It is here on this road going to Emmaus that we will see that the Savior wants us to know about the completion and fulfillment of God's most amazing plan. In Luke 24:13-27 we are permitted to eavesdrop on part of a conversation among the aforementioned trio. Wouldn't it have been fun to have been walking with them? They didn't recognize Jesus. They thought that all that they had hoped for was now lost. The plan they believed had been in place seemed to have failed. How sad that would have been. No wonder they were downcast.
I love how Jesus drew them out by asking them questions, not revealing His identity. Then all of a sudden, He began to unfold what God had planned all along. How good it would have been to have listened while God Himself told of each scripture and how it had been fulfilled by Him. In essence, Jesus said that there was an amazing plan, and its details had been fulfilled. Every one of them. The devil's works had been destroyed, 1 John 3:8. Though the evil one's plan has brought unimaginable grief and loss, Jesus' victory, as promised, has always been a certainty, Genesis 3:15. His perfect plan simply needed to be carried out.
Twenty years have come and gone since our country was attacked, and Jesus' second coming, which is as certain as His first one was, is two decades closer. Every detail of God's plan to bring this about will occur, and no evil plot can thwart what the Victorious One will surely do. In 1 John 4:4, we are reminded of precious truth. Greater is He Who is in us than he who is in the world.
Lord, Thank You that You will surprise us by what You have planned, 1 Corinthians 2:9.