30 minutes had passed.

A parent of one of my students had not yet arrived for our conference.

Feeling slightly annoyed, I dialed the number to her house.

The voice on the other end of the phone sounded shaken.

I had no idea what was going on outside of my classroom walls.

“You don’t know what is happening, do you?  We are waiting to hear if my husband is ok.”

We turned the television on in our room.

It was the morning of September 11th.

As the tragic news of the day unfolded, a number of staff came to use the phone in our room, attempting to reach loved ones who commuted into the city.

One moment changed the landscape of lives forever.

My eyes kept shifting to the clock.

All I could think of was my 10 month old son.

I could not get home fast enough to wrap him up in my arms.

As a parent, I wanted to shield my child from the evil that had just crashed into our world.

There was an innocence and purity in his eyes.

He had no knowledge yet of good and evil.

Adam and Eve did not have this knowledge either as their story unfolds in Genesis.

There was an innocence and purity that existed in the Garden of Eden.

And just like a parent, God wanted to shield his children from the evil that existed in the world.

The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.  But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden – except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Genesis 2: 15-17 NLT

One moment changed the landscape of lives forever.

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God made.  One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”  “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees of the garden,” the woman replied, “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat.  God said, “You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.” “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”   The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some fruit and she ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at the nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves to cover themselves.”  Genesis 3: 1-7 NLT

It is hard to remember a time when evil did not exist.

Daily, we are bombarded with news and images that evil is ever present in this world.

Sometimes it comes crashing into our lives.

Others, it slithers in the door quietly.

But God promises to those who believe that there will come a day when all that evil brings will be gone forever.

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying “Look, God’s home is now among His people!  He will live with them, and they will be His people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.  All of these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21: 3-4 NLT

Especially on this day, I am grateful for that promise.