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Seeing the Tears
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I sat coloring and cutting illustrations for my Kindergarten Bible class the next day. The lesson focused on Eden and the forbidden fruit.  

The first illustration depicted Adam and Eve in their beautiful, perfect surroundings. The next showed Eve taking the fruit from the serpent. The third pictured Adam's consternation as Eve offered him the fruit. The last of these coloring-book-style drawings illustrated the banishment. Dressed in animal pelts, heads bowed in sorrow, Adam and Eve walked away from the garden. Behind them, driving them out and guarding the Tree of Life, stood a stern-faced angel brandishing a flaming sword.

The more I colored this picture, the more it troubled me. I stopped for a while to review the lesson highlights in the teachers' guide. They stressed the vital importance of obedience, setting it forth in stark images.  

Children are so visual in their learning. Though I would tell of God's love and forgiveness to Adam and Eve, the depiction of the angel's stern face would convey a far different message. I began realizing that this was a message I had struggled with for most of my life, this very picture of heaven's response to mankind's sin.

I couldn't eliminate the angel. Scripture says God "stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way of the tree of life" (Genesis 3:24). With my crayons, I stroked in the orange and red flames, trying to imagine that day in the Garden and the feelings of the angel. "Dear Lord," I whispered, "what is wrong with this picture?"

Drew Tear Drops

Suddenly, I knew. Taking a pencil, I drew tear drops on the angel's cheeks, then touched them with a silver crayon to make them glisten—just a little. Tears.

"It was the saddest day in all the world," I told the children the next morning. We talked of a God who loved to walk with the people He created, and how sad He must have been when they failed to trust and obey Him. How sad all the angels must have been because they loved Adam and Eve so much.

"I know," said a little boy, nodding his head solemnly, "I can tell—because the angel is crying."

We talked of a God who loved them so dearly that He promised right there, before they left the garden, that He would send a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15).

Amid all the pictures of God hanging in my mind's gallery—God of the Red Sea, of the lions den, of David, Daniel, Esther, and God of the manger in Bethlehem, had hung this dominant picture of God’s angel with flaming sword. Only as I drew the tears on the angel’s face could I finally reconcile the pictures of justice and love, the flaming sword and the cross, and see the one God who is the same—yesterday, today, and forever.

 How about you? Have you seen the tears?

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By Lois Pecce. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®.

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