Day 4 of TeenStreet (TS) continued to build on the themes of the preceding days. Teenagers were reminded of the awe of creation as taught on the first day. On the second day, God’s delight in his creation (which was very good) was the main topic, while His desire to walk and fellowship with this creation took centre stage on the third day.
Despite the previous three days painting a striking portrait of God’s plan for mankind, the fourth day presented a dent to the imagery as the relationship and fellowship between God and mankind was torn when the later disobeyed.
In Genesis 3:8, the Father is shown walking in the cool of the day. However, this time He is not walking in fellowship with humanity. Instead the verse presents a painful picture of God searching and pursuing Adam and Eve as they hide.
“Do you think God did not know where Adam and Eve were when He asked them, ‘Where are you?’ And do you think He didn’t know when He asked them, ‘Who told you that you are naked?’” Debs asked the teens. God “wanted them to feel the effect of what they had just done,” she explained.
At the beginning of the main session, Josh reminded the teens that they were created in the image of the God and that He desires to walk with each person. Josh explained that when someone is created in the image of another, her or she begins to believe, behave, and act the same. “If I am looking more and more like my Daddy, does my Father think that I ‘m funny, because I think that I am funny”, he said - to much applause. But Josh was not finished: “We carry His DNA, we [are] in relationship with Him and we know we are where we are supposed to be. And like a tree here [we are] firmly planted right beside Daddy.”
Josh went on to describe God’s pain in the relationship that was “torn” when mankind sinned in the garden. He explained that this hurt God not only because humankind had sinned against Him, but also because He knew the pain and trouble that Adam and Eve had introduced to all of humanity. “What do you think God felt when he was walking, pursuing and searching for his people?” he asked. “There is a deep pain of loss and hurt. God not only knew the pain of Adam and Eve, [but] He knew the pain that was to come for years and years.”
Whereas Adam and Eve had previously experienced freedom to interact and enjoy dominion over all things in the garden, they were no longer themselves the moment they trespassed. Josh explained, “One of the things we see as a result of Adam and Eve’s fall is that man and woman started blaming themselves. Suddenly fear, shame, pain, sorrow and all bad things were introduced into the world.” Josh told participants that people did not need to blame God for pain in the world, for it grieved Him then, and He continues to be troubled that people don’t turn to Him.
After this, Ronald from the TS program team pointed out that, despite God’s pain and agony, all was not lost. He explained that God’s act of searching and pursuing Adam and Eve after the fall pointed to a heart of love and forgiveness. Ronald challenged the teens to always carry the image of love and forgiveness because this was the nature and heart of the Father.
Debs urged the teens to imagine a world without problems. This, she said, was God’s plan before the relationship was torn in the garden. The plan remains the same, but because of the torn relationship, only those who chose to follow God on earth will live in eternity with Him.
“God is pursuing you because He loves you. If you think God is angry and is turning away from you, He is not angry because He is coming after you,” Debs stated.
Concluding the morning, Debs told the teenagers that for each challenge they would face, for each struggle in life and negative thought, they needed to asked themselves the same question that God asked Adam and Eve: “Who told you that?” God, she reminded them, did not.