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by Ron Rose
Experiencing the Pain of Death
    For Adam and Eve, life outside the Garden was filled with struggle, disappointment, and uncertainty. Work was hard. There were no relatives for support, no neighbors to engage in backyard conversations, no parents to tell stories of the way things used to be. While sensing an emptiness in their souls, Adam and Eve must have learned many lessons through painful trial and error.

    Adam and Eve's sin had given death an entry into the world. While their own deaths were still centuries away, it invaded their home—their firstborn son, Cain, murdered his younger brother, Abel. The double grief of losing Abel to death and Cain to the discipline of God left Adam and Eve alone and facing the reality of death. The memory of their Garden time with God must have made the pain of death and the separation even worse.

When people are tempted, they should not say, “God is tempting me.” Evil cannot tempt God, and God himself does not tempt anyone. But people are tempted when their own evil desire leads them away and traps them. This desire leads to sin, and then the sin grows and brings death.
JAMES 1:13-15
    As God’s first family dealt with life and death separated from his presence, and new children replaced Cain and Abel, people began the practice of prayer.

Reflection: It seems natural that people began praying after they experienced grief. Nothing causes us to rethink our priorities, our values, and our relationship with God like the death of a loved one. Death always reminds us of our own mortality and that we are not in control.

    Death empties our hearts and calls us to prayer—not a “give me” prayer or a self-promoting prayer, but an intimate outpouring of tears and pain. No mere repetition of familiar words, no intellectual discussion with God, prayer at these times becomes an unguarded, heartfelt conversation with our listening God. And only through our conversations with him can we feel at home in his presence.


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