Friday, August 22, 2014

Adam and Eve Lesson 1: Un-fulfillment

            Okay, we all know that Genesis 1 says that God created man and woman on the sixth day.  But Gen 2, which goes into greater depth about the creation of man and woman, caught my attention recently.  Obviously, God created man first.  And He put man to work in the garden, naming the animals, before He made woman.  (If this was all on the sixth day, God must have made Adam pretty early in the morning so that he had time to name all the animals before God made woman.) 
            Anyway, God said it’s not good for man to be alone.  But this thought hit me for the first time, This wasn’t a surprise to God.  He knew from the beginning that Adam wouldn’t be complete without Eve.  And yet, He let Adam be alone for the day.  He let him find no other creature suitable for him before He introduced Eve. 
            So I have to conclude that God wanted Adam to know loneliness, to know what it felt like to be “incomplete.”  Because by doing this, Adam could know the greater joy that comes when you finally get something you longed for, even if you didn’t really know what you were longing for.  If God had made Eve at the same time as Adam, Adam would never have felt the difference between loneliness and companionship. 

Times of “un-fulfillment” – of not having things that God knows are good for us - serve a purpose.  Yes, there is a joyful blessing in finally receiving it, but there is also a divine reason for having to wait for it.  It was by not having it that Adam learned what God knew – that it isn’t good for him to be alone.  He was able to realize his need and to learn that only God could really fulfill it.  No amount of looking around for fulfillment himself would work.  No substitute would work.  Adam had to rely on God to give him what he really needed.  And I think this is what made the creation of Eve so glorious to him.  It’s what God knew he needed, and it’s what only God could provide.  And He gave Adam time to learn this, too. 

            Now, of course, since I am happily married, I am not looking for that “special someone.”  But I am longing for things that I don’t have: deep friendships, a presentable home, success in my attempts to do great things for God.  Now, whether or not God chooses to bless me with the things I want, I don’t know.  But seeing as how they get farther and farther away the more I work for them, the lesson that I am learning right now is that God wants me to stop.  To stop thinking of all the things I don’t have, to focus on the things I do have, and to find out that, ultimately, He is enough for me and will provide what I really need when it is time.  It’s as though I am in the Garden and noticing that something is lacking.  And God says, “I know that you can’t find something you think you need to fulfill you right now.  But I’m here with you.  Let Me be enough for you right now.”  
            And if you’ll notice, God put Adam to work when He created him.  He didn’t create him and then say, “Okay now be lazy and sit around and enjoy all the good things I gave you.”  He put Adam in the garden (which alone is a huge blessing) and gave him a job.  And Adam, as he was faithfully doing the task that God gave him that day, eventually ended up seeing his needs fulfilled.  He didn’t set out to meet his own needs.  (He probably didn’t even really know what he needed anyway.)  He just did the job God gave him, and when the time was right, God fulfilled the need. 
            That’s how it works for us, too.  We should not be putting too much effort into pursuing the things that we think we need.  Our job is to pursue God and to faithfully do the job that God gave us today, for His glory.  And when the time is right, God will meet the needs that we have in the best way possible.  (And we might even find out that some of the “needs” weren’t really things we needed at all.) 
            I think that so many of the trials and disappointments and unfulfilled longings are actually opportunities to learn that God is enough.  God might not give us all that we desire and “need,” but when God becomes all that we desire, we realize that we have all we need.  And everything else is just extra sweetness!
            This is what I am really trying to do right now, to be in the moment, in the current blessing.  To find God’s goodness everywhere.  When my kids climb in my lap, I lay my cheek on their heads and breathe it in.  When I do dishes, I gaze out the window and take note of the beauty that God has planted there.  While I watch the sun slowly rise in the quiet of the morning, I thank Him for the day and I quiet myself to listen for His voice.  And the more I do this, the more I find Him.  And the more I find Him, the more fulfilled I am.  Life is good!