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Trouble in Paradise - Reflection on Chapter 3 of "Never Alone: The Power of Family to Inspire Hope"

Chapter three of Never Alone features an examination of the first family in human history. The biblical record teaches us that the first man was Adam, and the first woman was Eve. They procreated and brought Abel and Cain, the first siblings into the world.


The first family had to learn how to be a family. The first siblings had to learn how to be brothers. The first parents had to learn how to be good parents and nurture their two sons. They had to learn these roles for the first time in human history without an owner’s manual other than the guidance of God. They had to learn how to share family life over meals, work, play, and worship.


If you have studied the Bible or attended Bible classes at any age, you probably learned about the first family and the challenges they faced. I recall learning these stories and later reading about them. However, I did not have a deep appreciation for the dynamics and the dilemmas this family faced at the very outset. I found myself cheering them on to success and then I sensed my heart sinking as they plunged into failure. How could something so beautiful end in such horrific tragedy?


I learned a lot about our humanity and our sin-nature. I learned many things about what not to do in families. I began to regain a deep appreciation of why God’s instructions and guidance matters in the development of family life. I experienced a close-up view of the evil forces at play amid the beauty of family life. I learned about the role of parents in guiding their children and the existence of free will in human nature.


The story of the first family takes a tragic turn for sure, but it does not end there. I found that even in the most disappointing circumstances of human existence and the consequences of sin, God still has plans for our families. He extends his grace and mercy even when we revolt against his plan.


You will be discouraged and encouraged by this chapter as you rediscover the experience of the first family. The lessons are hard but valuable. Life is precious and redeemable. And which one of our families has not experienced trouble at some point? You will find that even trouble resulting from our own actions is not beyond the effort of God the Creator to redeem for our good and for his purpose in the world. You are Never Alone even when facing deep trouble.

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