Baking Cookies While the World Burns
It feels like the world is spinning out of control lately, doesn’t it? Each day, news websites detail the destruction of people and buildings in the country of Ukraine. I read about families torn apart, fleeing refugees, and besieged cities while I pour my bowl of Bran Flakes.
Opinion columnists foreshadow food shortages, rolling blackouts, and gas hikes that surpass the energy crises I learned about in school. All of this blankets my mind as I scroll through tips on how to declutter my home and create a better cleaning schedule with my kids. I wonder if all that fills my days is pointless.
This spring my children and I have been baking through a new cookie book, flipping through the pages and choosing which new recipe we’ll attempt for the week. I get excited when I copy down the ingredients we need at the grocery for our next treat, yet in the back of my mind I wonder how long we’ll be able to keep baking. Will rising inflation or flour shortages force our small joy into a distant dream? Sometimes I wonder if it’s silly to continue baking cookies while the world around me burns.
The answers to my questions appeared in an unlikely place during my reading through Genesis—in a genealogy. There are several genealogies throughout the book of Genesis, and though we might like to skim past the difficult names and repetitive phrases, these inscriptions were written with purpose. Romans tells us “whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).
We find this encouragement and hope in the lineage of Seth in Genesis 5. Prior to this genealogy, we have already witnessed the tragic entrance of sin in the world. Chapter 3 detailed the fall of Adam and Eve, and the narrative quickly proved how detrimental its consequences were as Cain murdered his brother in cold blood. The text demonstrates how that blood-thirsty drive spread through his whole family after him, culminating in the vicious boasting of Lamech’s vengeance (Gen. 4:24).
In four short chapters, we’ve gone from a lush paradise of beauty, peace, and abundance, to a world marked by death, selfishness, injustice, and pain. It’s safe to say the world feels like it’s spinning out of control into death and evil—and the people feel it. It’s why another man named Lamech later exclaims of his son, Noah, “This one will bring us relief from the agonizing labor of our hands, caused by the ground the Lord has cursed” (Gen. 5:29).
The poison of sin spread throughout the land, and the people groaned in agony under its curse. We know what happens next. The fire of evil grew so fierce that God sent a flood to destroy the earth, but saved Noah and his family in the ark.
Yet before this judgment and deliverance happens, we need to step back again into Seth’s lineage. See, while the world burns, and darkness overtakes it, we hear about a man in the line of Seth: “Enoch walked with God 300 years and fathered other sons and daughters” (Genesis 5:22).
We don’t know much of anything about Enoch, but we do know that while the world descended into chaos and darkness, Enoch walked with God and fathered children.
For three hundred years, while difficulty, pain, and evil grew around him, Enoch was a father who raised his children, while walking with the Lord. It’s easy to skip over these few words in the genealogy, but this was a whole lifetime. A lifetime of waking, eating, trading, working, sleeping, and playing. It was a lifetime of laughter, of tears, and no doubt a host of seemingly menial tasks. Yet Enoch persisted, even in the midst of the darkness. He lived and walked each routine day not only in communion with his family, but in communion with his God.
Enoch’s short biography gives me encouragement as I face a world that feels like it’s burning around me. There are many things to do in these difficult days, including praying to the Lord for relief, encouraging one another, sharing the good news of Christ, and giving money and physical help to those who need it. Yet between those will lie a lot of other seemingly unimportant tasks. There will be meeting notes to write, Legos to find, diapers to change, floors to vacuum, breakfasts to eat, and grass to mow. These tasks that fill up our days are never trivial when we are walking in communion and obedience with our God. They matter.
I don’t know what changes will come in the future, and neither do you. We’ll have to take each one as it comes. Yet we don’t have to shrink back from our days because our tasks feel less important. Just like Enoch, we can trust in the Lord and continue in obedience, no matter the job, because we know God will ultimately destroy the curse just as he promised Adam and Eve so long ago (Gen. 3:15).
Today, I’m going to seek to walk in dependence on the Lord for each one of my tasks—whether it’s making playdough or folding the next load of laundry. Oh, and I’m going to plan our next cookie. Would you join me?
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