In Search of Paradise
by Mark Trodd
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In search of Paradise
Spring has transformed the Kinglake Ranges (Victoria, Australia) from what seemed like barren ground, into something vibrant and alive. The splashes of bright colors complement the many shades of green. Deciduous trees and many other plants and shrubs have now joined the fuzzy native trees, adding a broad range of colors, shapes and textures that is overwhelming the blackness. Sadly, some trees and plants will never recover while many others have been cut down and removed; others continue to persevere and thousands of seedlings are dashing to the heights of former generations. It is indeed a time of new beginnings, restoration and hope.
Our memories of how things were before the devastation of Black Saturday (Feb 7th 2009) have been blurred by what has happened, but many of us have tried to rebuild, replant, reconnect, and maybe even try to improve on what was lost. Loved ones and cherished things can never be replaced, but life does go on so we seek a focus that will help us keep going.
Some of us love to work in gardens; others prefer to read a book or chat with friends in its peaceful atmosphere; still others are happy to enjoy the beauty revealed through a window, or in a painting or photograph. Many of us are revitalized by the images and atmosphere that a garden can offer – others seek it elsewhere. The idea of what a little piece of paradise might look or feel like is different for everyone; the perfect garden, the dream home, the satisfying relationship, the plum job, the exhilarating experience are just some examples. Even the most cynical of us secretly hope to find or even create our own version of it. It’s as if we have these blurred memories of something we were supposed to have but have lost - and we would be right.
The original paradise was indeed a garden, but it was SO MUCH MORE. It was a place where there was peace and intimacy, prosperity and purpose, love and freedom, beauty and order – but most of all it was a place where we could know and walk with God. When our ancestors tried to go it alone they turned their lives, and our inheritance, into a nightmare. Every crisis reminds us that we aren’t in control and is an invitation to return to our rightful place with the Lord. While many of us persist in trying to prove that we don’t need God or that He doesn’t exist, Jesus makes it very clear that God loves us, that He is still pursuing us, and that only He can give us a future worth having.
Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly”
Only JESUS can give us the true satisfaction that is not dependent on the perfect place, the perfect relationship, the perfect job, the perfect experience or whatever else we try to substitute God with. Every substitute will eventually disappoint, because we inevitably place expectations on them that only a BIG GOD can ever hope to fulfill.
Jesus said, “I am the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE…. Follow Me.”
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This is absolutely beautiful. You described an area of where I am not familiar but your words painted a vivid picture in my head. Many of us search for paradise only to find it right under our noses with Jesus standing by our side. You have a way with word. I think you would do well in the weekly challenge. You do have to be at least a gold or platinum member to enter but if you can afford the few extra dollars a month it is really worth it. More people would see your work and be blessed by your words. The deadline is Thursday morning at 10 AM (Eastern Time) This week's topic is cup. I believe you have quite a bit to say to the world and pray there is a way this will work out for you. Keep writing.