To Be Reminded . . .

Associations of one thing to another are not only common but can be either harmful and unpleasant or delightful and uplifting. For example, when I see a rocky coastline with powerful waves crashing and their white foam hissing through the tide pools, I think of my mother and the many hours we spent together on the beaches of Oregon. Aggate Beach and Glass Beach, (our own names for the paces) are places of wonderful memories that can lift my heart of of a dark place. But there are things, one in particular, that I associate with a very dark time in my life, a memory of which I cannot rid myself.

This dark association brings heavy and gloomy feelings that affect me, affect my mood and even affect my decisions and the things I do. Others seeing my darker mood and the darker decisions I may make, will never be exposed to the associations I make with that one place or memory. To them, the reasons for my darker decisions will remain an unsolved mystery.

Can God be affected by positive or negative associations? Does he ever experience sadness when he watches and experiences the tragedy of sin? There are some good scholars who believe that God is above these things, that he is "Impassible" and cannot be drawn into our emotional experience. They tell us that since God is immutable (unchanging over time or unable to be changed), that he is incapable of entering into our emotional life. Impassability is listed as an attribute in the same sort of list where we find immutable or omniscient.

But, for many reasons that I will not take the time to go into here, I disagree. I believe that God is passible and does experience our emotional range. In fact, I think we probably have a very limited emotional range compared to our Father.

That brings me to Matthew 21:18~19 when Jesus cursed the fig tree because it had no fruit. It seems to me to be a pretty "over-the-top " kind of curse; "May no fruit ever come from you again!"

This morning when I read that I was, for the first time, reminded of the scene from a few thousand years before. It was in a garden and our primal ancestors, Adam and Eve, had turned from their loving Father and embraced the evil lies about him from Satan. Adam and Eve had received life and everything in the garden from the hands of their very loving and kind Father. And then they rejected him, rebelled against him, questioned his motives and his ways. They ate the forbidden fruit and their eyes were opened and for the first time in their lives they felt ashamed.

When Father came, as was his custom, into the garden to hang out with them, they were hiding from him. They were afraid of him and ashamed of each other. They had pulled some large fig leaves from a fig tree and used them to cover themselves. It was an awful and heart-wrenching time for our Father, filled with pain and ugly memories.

Jesus came across a fig tree -- was he reminded of that moment in the garden? Did he associate the fig tree with the pain of betrayal and sin? Did he associate that betrayal and sin with the soon-coming betrayal from a friend and his own awful death that was necessary because of sin, because of betrayal?

There is much that we will never know about the deep things of our Lord. And there are things we will learn only after we have lived with him for a long, long time. Turn your heart toward Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.