God gave us choices from the very beginning, despite the fact that he knew that we might not always make the best ones.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had a wealth of healthy options to choose from: fruits and vegetables to nourish them, physical work to strengthen their bodies, and a relationship with the Creator to feed their souls. But God also gave them another choice. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die’” (Gen. 2:15-17).
That tree somehow represented all the unhealthy choices that Adam and Eve could make, all the decisions that could hurt them physically, spiritually, socially, and emotionally. Making this one choice—to eat from that tree—would result in a life that would be less than what God wanted for them. And in the end, the consequence would be twofold: physical death and separation from God—a short-term consequence and a very long-term consequence.
God didn’t hide this choice from the first humans, nor did he pretend that it didn’t exist. Instead, he lovingly created them as free moral agents with the ability to choose to follow his plan or choose to follow their own way. If you’re a parent, then you know that the highest form of love you can have for your children, especially as they grow older, is to give them the freedom to choose their own way. It’s the toughest thing a parent does, allowing their child to choose wisely or poorly, but it is absolutely necessary to protect the dignity of their lives.
Choice is at the very heart of God’s wonderful plan for our health, both in this world and the next.
Lord, thank you for giving me the gift of choice. Help me choose wisely and glorify you in all that I do. Amen.