Last week I wrote about how men and women are equally created in his image. This doesn’t answer all of the questions about what roles they should have in the home or the church but it does give us a baseline for understanding our shared value and dignity. The question of roles is dealt with later in Scripture (and we’ll get there eventually). Rather than moving forward and talking about the next thing in the Articles of Religion, I want to take a side-step this week and talk, briefly, about how God created man but it was not good for him to be alone.
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone…” (Gen 2:18)
Christians are fond of saying that God is everything we need. The truth is both that he is…and he isn’t. In a sinless world, while walking in perfect fellowship with God, God tells Adam that it’s not good for man to be alone. God says (basically), “Hey, I’m pretty great, perfect actually, but I didn’t design it to be just you and me. It’s not good for it just to be the two of us, you were designed for intimate relationships with other human beings.” God wanted more for Adam than just a fulfilling divine relationship, he wanted Adam to have fulfilling human relationships. And when he didn’t have them it was not good.
Of course, God wants to be the center of our universe and our most important relationship, and God never wants us to lower or standards or violate his relational rules just to be intimate with others, BUT that longing you feel when you’re single, or when you’re alone in your marriage, or when everyone else seems to have friends and your awkwardly standing on the outside? That feeling is normal, and it exists because you long for something you were designed to have, intimacy with other human beings.
When those relationships don’t exist, God will sustain us, but, if we’re really going to thrive, his ideal is that we are in intimate relationship with him and with other human beings.
When I was in high school I, like nearly everyone else, didn’t feel like I belonged. I had my group that I hung out with and did the normal teenage things with, but I didn’t feel like they really knew me or that I could fully be myself around them. I was surrounded by people but was lonely. It was my mom who pointed out to me that God created us for relationships, and not just surface-level relationships, but deep, meaningful relationships. She told me it was not good to be alone. That didn’t fix anything but it at least took away the, “Shouldn’t God be enough?” guilt.
So, today, if you find yourself lonely, either because you don’t have close friends or you long for a deep romantic relationship that you don’t have, look to God to sustain you. But know that your longing for people to help satisfy you isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s actually the logical outflow of how you were created and isn’t, in itself, bad. When we compromise to get that intimacy or when we make relationships with others a higher priority than our relationship with God it becomes a problem. But that longing? It’s from him. When you feel it, take it to him. Ask him for friends, for deep relationships, for love for and from others where you know and are deeply known. When he doesn’t provide the people? And ask him to sustain you but be okay with not being okay when God is enough but not quite enough.