We are likely familiar with the words early on in the creation account of Genesis 2:
“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him’” (Gen. 2:18).
We know the rest of the story. God causes Adam to fall into a deep sleep, and from his side makes woman. Adam opens his eyes and finds poetry on his lips as he celebrates this miraculous gift from an amazing God. From here we have the foundations of marriage and a description of perfect people with perfect bodies being perfectly naked and perfectly unashamed.
Perfect. God comes through. What a mighty God we serve.
I’ve read this a billion times (approximate), yet one facet of this story has escaped my attention.
Throughout the flowing lines of God’s creation, we are caught up in waves of awe continually beating upon our souls, “And it was good…and it was good…and it was good.” Of course in verse 18, we know God gives the first, “It is not good.” That’s not what surprises me, however.
I know this God. This is the God we sing about and presume when we pray. God spots a deficiency in our lives. He says it’s not good, and He fixes it quickly while we sleep. Right?
That’s the God I want. While yes, that is what God does here for Adam, he does something else first. Before he makes him a woman, he makes him lonely.
Lonely. In the Garden of Eden. It almost seems like a paradox. How could something like loneliness be part of God’s perfect and beautiful design? Isn’t he supposed to fix things like that? That’s neither positive nor encouraging.
But God creates loneliness. Look at what God does after he identifies that Adam’s solitude is not good. We are told God paraded every animal before Adam and he named them. God was not only putting Adam’s authority, work, and enjoyment on display before him, but He was showing him a lack in himself and the perfect world that surrounded him. He was showing him a need that had yet to be filled.
So why didn’t God just make the woman immediately after He made man? Why did God put Adam through the process of seeing opportunity after opportunity come before him, yet finding it lacking? Why make Adam feel lonely? That doesn’t sound like God…does it?
Perhaps the significance of this is that Adam had to see the desert before he would appreciate the rain. He had to see what was deficient in himself and all that he had before he could fully appreciate the gift God would give him. He had to see the Law before he could appreciate the grace.
Perhaps God is a giver of the empty to make us understand what a joy and privilege it is to be filled.
What Genesis 2 shows us is that God is the supplier of all we need. In fact, He knows what we need even before we do and is at work making that need known before we even know we need it (say that sentence three times fast).
This is my hope in the dry time. This is my anchor when I read the Bible and nothing happens. This is my hope when I find joy in basketball, music, my work, my family, my friends, yet in the quiet moments, recognize that none of them make me complete. This is my hope when I turn on the news and see nothing but depravity, destruction, and despair – even when I see good things in the world, but recognize there must be something more.
Even when God is showing us deficiency, be it loneliness, dissatisfaction, or any other ache, we can rest in knowledge that He is allowing us to see the shadow to make known the sunshine. He gives us the dark night to make the sunrise all the more beautiful.
God is a good God. We should never presume He is not at work. God is always at work, pointing us to our one true fulfillment that some day He will provide through Christ in a new home – an eternal home.
Until then, don’t be afraid of loneliness. Don’t be afraid of the dry.
These are only appetites being created to be satisfied by Christ Jesus Himself. Even in showing us there is no gift, He is revealing Himself as the Giver.