Paradise Ain’t Cheap

I took the following pictures a couple of weeks ago in Seaside, FL. You may remember me irritating everyone talking about my little writer’s getaway at Escape to Create and how much I enjoyed it.

This first one was hanging in the eating area of one of the little beach side establishments.


“Paradise Ain’t Cheap”– I felt sure it had been hung there as an ode to beach living.


And yet, it spoke something more to me, so I snapped the shot and filed the phrase away to think about later.  The words were still with me when I took my last early morning walk on the beach. That’s when I happened upon this…

Yes, I know, it’s just an apple, with a bite taken out of it but as soon as I saw it I heard the words again in my soul, “Paradise Ain’t Cheap.”

Neither image have left me since. I came home in the middle of Holy Week, anticipating a time when I could sit down and think through the fragile connection of the pictures by way of my halting fingers and the rhythm of these keys.

No, paradise isn’t cheap. It never has been.

Hours before his crucifixion Jesus told us his disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also. “

But first.

Torn flesh.

Piercing thorns.

A bloody cross.

A bleeding Savior.

Paradise ain’t cheap.

And age-old lesson first taught in the garden, through a piece of fruit that was never just a piece of fruit.

God had said, “All of this for all of you.”

And His kids had replied, “Not so fast. I reserve the right to do as I please.”

Their choice meant their eviction, the entrance to Paradise blocked by angels and flaming swords. Until the day, thousands of years later, when God’s son hung on a cross paying for our return in His own blood and paving the way for us to follow him home.  But don’t be deceived by the same snake that charmed Eve. Paradise wasn’t cheap then, and it isn’t cheap now.

The conditions are the same. “All of this, for all of you.”


Do you believe in Paradise?


About Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

Known as The Belle of All Things Southern, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is a national best-selling author, speaker, radio host, and columnist from Louisiana.
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