In rapper fashion, my little granddaughter wears her oversized red ball cap backward, her tiny blue jeans sagging low on her hips as she toddles onto the front porch. I squat down to tell her good-bye—I’ll see her later. Unexpectedly, she turns back to place a kiss right on my lips. Then she smiles. Her eyes are filled with love; they twinkle. Children’s children are a joy. I study her little face, easily discerning her daddy’s genes and mannerisms—once my own little tike, now grown to full manhood. Grandchildren are a gift, a continuation of an earlier gifting.

Life goes on. God is merciful.

Not only in my own life is this true, allowing me to bear that baby boy so long ago, but giving now the abundance of grandchildren, babies of babies. So wonderful! Who would have ever guessed that you could hold so much love in your heart for such a little person? This heart-bursting love happened before, when I birthed my children; now it repeats itself with their offspring. Through love, God teaches me about himself.

But it could have gone differently. If God wasn’t merciful, we would never have existed. None of us.

Into the innocence of the Garden, evil slithered. A disgruntled, hateful, rage-filled fallen angel, Satan tried to destroy God’s creation. In his rebellion, he hated the people God had made. Satan possessed or took the form of a serpent and tricked the woman. Confused and muddled, she ate the forbidden fruit and offered it to her husband. Adam ate. It was all over. Sin and death now reigned. They just didn’t know it yet.

God had said, “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” (Genesis 2:15b-17 NIV).

They had eaten. That was it. They would surely die. But life continued—they weren’t immediately snuffed out. Why? Because God is merciful. He already had a plan.

First, God dealt with the serpent, promising to send his own Son to settle the matter (Genesis 3:14-15). God’s Son—seed of the woman—would fix it. But God also told Adam a sad truth, “for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Gen. 3:19b NIV). You’re a goner, boy. One day, you will die.

But, so Jesus could make his appearance on earth to redeem this mess, God didn’t end their lives on that day. Babies had to be born. Childbearing would now be more painful and relationships more difficult, but God permitted them to live and to bear children, and their children to do the same, and their children…until the promised One came, laying down his life, paying for our sins, rising from the dead, winning the victory, crushing the serpent’s head, and giving eternal life to those who believe in him, to those who come to the knowledge of the truth.

Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NIV). Without his death on the cross and his resurrection, we were all doomed. Every single one of us inherited the sinful deformity from our ancestral parents. We’re all sinners. We all need saving. We all needed to be bought back from sin and death and Satan—the purchase price was Christ’s blood (Col. 1:13-14; Heb. 2:14-15). Each of us needs to place our trust in our Savior, accepting what he did for us, believing he is who he says he is, and finding our joy in him and his daily mercies.

We still bear babies, and he still continues to draw his own to himself, to woo us with his lovingkindness. Human procreation will continue until the Creator is finished with his creative effort on this earth, until he’s won all who are his, bringing them into his own family.

We’re still here; so we know he’s not done.

And thus, my little granddaughter places a kiss on my lips. Thank you, God, for life. What a merciful God you are! You had a plan. You carried it out, and you’re still in the process of fixing it.