In these past few months at OneLife, we have seen the beauty of the mountains, the ocean, the wilderness, and the creatures within these environments that thrive with the help of God. In the sunrise at Table Rock we can see that “the sky proclaims the work of His hands” (Psalms 19:1 HCSB). All the beautiful landscapes glorify Him and remind us of His promise to the world and to each individual. Each individual who has cried out to the Lord is able to “take refuge in Him” (Psalm 18:30 HCSB), since He has created all of us to be “very good” (Genesis 1:31 HCSB). Each individual, no matter what society says about them, is able to be the tools to the Carpenter, to the Shepherd, to the Lord, to glorify Him and show the profound beauty that God has made on this earth. Here at OneLife, we have learned that creation is chaos yet peace, unpredictable yet constant, in big and little things, and somehow all of that beauty is still astounding us every day because of the Creator.
-Students at OneLife Sakanaga
During my year of OneLife, I have learned, experienced and slowly come to understand what the “fall” is within my life and the world we live in. To put it plainly, the fall represents where humanity falls short, sins against God or others, and the natural consequences due to those failures. Personally, I have seen this play out first within my own heart. I have become more self-aware that my fleshly desires are not the same as the spiritual desires God has set before me. So, the fall for me has looked like the natural tension between wanting to be in control of my life and choosing to pick up my cross and die to self. This feeling of tension from “the fall” serves as a reminder that God is taking me through a process of refinement in all areas where I fall short of representing the image of God in me.
-Hannah Grace at Pleasant View
There was creation: the beginning of all things working perfectly together to glorify their Creator in the way that it was designed to. Then there was the fall: the newfound distinction between good and evil set out of sheer disobedience and failure to take God at His word to set that dividing line for us. Now there is redemption: the amazing, beautiful reality we get to live in through Jesus that, despite our brokenness caused by our sinful disobedience, He was still willing to pay the ultimate cost to forgive our offenses against our Heavenly Father. We are purchased, saved, and redeemed by the grace (the receiving of something undeserved) offered by Jesus.
But as Paul puts it, it is not merely grace that saves us. It is the faith that we have followed close by grace. We had faith that we knew better than God, which led us to our fall. Because of redemption, there has been a transformation in our thinking; we have faith, even more so than we did before, that God knows better than us because He loves us and desires to be in a relationship with us. Though it is clear that this faith is not something earned, it is given freely as a gift. God intentionally chose this gift to bring us back to our dependent relationship with Him, just like in the beginning. We may not be complete yet, but we are in the process of sanctification. We will always struggle to surrender to Him in complete dependence and fleshly desire, but He still wants us to do the work He has prepared us for in Jesus Christ to the best of our ability. God wants to use our brokenness to bring Him glory, and as He continues to transform us from the inside out, we do that by doing what He calls us to. One day full restoration will come, but until then, we do His work as saved and REDEEMED people.
-Abigail at Lodestar
It is common that we find ourselves marveling at God’s awe inspiring creation, such as the countless stars that paint the sky above our site or the vastness of the open land. However we have to acknowledge that no matter how beautiful, we do not know the full picture of its beauty. The ultimate restoration of creation is going to be in fullness, something we are incapable of fathoming.
“The darkness that frightens you will turn to light. Brilliant. Revealing. Spectacular. The rough patches that have tripped you up in the past will become level ground. It’s true. All these things I will do for you. And I will never leave you” (Isaiah 42:16).
The Lord will restore His creation and dwell among us forever. Without tears, without strife, without the painful heartbreak of The Fall. Restoration will be the end of the war between sin and creation. The Lord will finally be able to be with us forever and we will finally see the full extent of what was truly meant to be.
-Students at Three Springs