Pastor and author Bob Goff recently Tweeted, "Next to grace, I bet God thinks having us need each other was one of His best ideas." (twitter.com/bobgoff)
Bob has a knack for putting such deep theological concepts into simple to understand phrasing. But I'll be honest, this one took me a bit to process. Perhaps it's society seeping into my mind, convincing me I don't "need" anyone, or it's my occasional, and always irrational, fear of transparency. Relationships are difficult, we all know that, and it often feels like life would be far easier if we didn't have to deal with people. We've all come home from a long day at work or a frustrating night out and have said the words: "I'm sick of people."
And it's true. Relationships are hard, exhausting, and frustrating. But they are also a part of God's intention for his greatest creation: us. In fact, relationships are at the very root of God's purpose for us, as first and foremost we were created to be in a committed and intimate relationship with him.
But we can't just stop there. We weren't the only human created on that sixth day detailed in Genesis. We were put here with other people. God wanted us to live life with other people, to work alongside other people, not just deal with them. Adam was able to accomplish some things alone, but God knew that to accomplish all that God needed him to, Adam needed Eve.
God created us to work best together, a reoccurring theme found in Scripture, stemming back to Genesis 2.
"Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.'" (Genesis 2:18, New Revised Standard Version).
Eve wasn't just a friend, a fellow human among the animals and plants. Someone Adam "put up with". Eve was a partner, placed in the garden to help God's creation flourish.
Psalm 133:1 sums up this idea of God-ordained fellowship among humans beautifully... "How good and pleasant it is for God's people to live together in unity!" (New International Version).
As we are journeying through this Lenten season together, our deepest intention is to grow in our relationship with Jesus, as it should be. However, I have often found in my own walk with Christ, that in my pursuit of a deeper relationship with Jesus, I often seclude myself from, perhaps even becoming oblivious to, the divinely appointed relationships all around me. The "Eves" to my "Adam", if you will.
Now, this is simple to do. As we intensely focus on one thing it is almost expected and unavoidable that our attention will drift away from other things. And that can certainly be a blessing, as us growing closer to Jesus can take away our desire for unholy actions and priorities, but it can also be an issue. I fully believe that Jesus' intention is that as we grow in our relationship with him, we would also grow in our relationship with others. We would confide in other brothers and sisters in Christ about this spiritual journey we are taking, seeking their guidance and fellowship along the way. We would encourage them with the convictions and truths God is laying upon our hearts during this time. That as Paul says in the book of Hebrews, we would "spur one another on toward love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:24, NIV). As we grow closer to Christ, Christ's nature should grow within us, overflowing to those we do life with.
Our "need" of others isn't that we need them to save us, complete us, or fulfill us, as we have the saving grace of Jesus Christ that has made us whole, "lacking nothing". Just like Adam, we have responsibilities here below that we can accomplish on our own, but we must not be surprised when God calls us to higher things that require an Eve.
There is a day coming soon when all believers, from every tribe and tongue, will be gathered and worshipping our Lord and Savior, together. If God saw fit that we would spend eternity together, surely he has a purpose for our relationships in the here and now.
So, that's my challenge to you today. As we keep putting one foot in front of the other during these 40 days, keep your focus on Jesus, but don't neglect what he has already clearly begun in your life. He's placed people in our lives for a reason, just like he has placed you in someone else's life for a reason. As brothers and sisters in Christ, our end goal should be the same. You should want what I want, as I want what you want: God's goodness to be known, and we should link arms, following in each other's steps, as we seek for this goal to be fulfilled.
Maybe this looks like reaching out to a friend today, encouraging them with some truth over a meal or coffee. Or maybe you need to gather with a group of friends this weekend and just enjoy that time together. So much of what we long for is already at our fingertips. All we have to do is reach out in faith. -Taylor