Written by Dave Urbanski
As we got deeper into chapter 2 of Genesis this past Sunday, we discovered that God’s creation of people says a lot about our individual relationships with each other, our individual relationships with God — and particularly the Lord’s answer to the problem of our loneliness.
And it should come as no surprise that it all started when God got personal.
One of cool things Pastor Scott pointed out is that the Hebrew name for God changed from chapter 1 to chapter 2 — and that change reflected the nature of his creative processes. In chapter 1, God’s name is “Elohim,” which means “God almighty.” And indeed chapter 1 showed us that God created the universe just by speaking it into existence. Sheer power. But in chapter 2, God’s personal name “Yahweh” is added — and not surprisingly it coincides with the Lord’s very personal process of creating us. You and me!
We also saw further evidence of the uniqueness of our creation in chapter 2. For instance, verse 7 says God “formed” us — and the verb used here is the same one used to describe the work of a potter. It’s an important visual: As we know, making pottery out of clay by hand on a wheel takes thought, imagination, creativity, and precision — and more than that, no pieces of pottery created in this way are exactly alike. And of course, in the same way, each one of us is unique because of the Lord’s careful work in each one of us!
Verse 7 also says that God “breathed into [the man’s] nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” If we take a quick look back at the Lord’s other creations in chapter 1, we won’t find such a description of animals and plants coming to life. Now, of course, they all were alive — but not in this special way. It’s the Hebrew idea of nephesh chayyah … that each one of us is a living soul. And let’s not forget what Jesus did for the disciples after his resurrection — he breathed on them, after which they received the Holy Spirit. God’s breath of life in us is yet another reason why we’re special to the Lord.
But there’s another side to our creation we must keep in mind, and it’s cause for humility. While we’re created in God’s image and are special and precious, the Lord created us from the dust on the ground. Yes, we are the crown of God’s creation — but we must also remember where our roots are!
And here’s another tidbit of truth before we get to God’s answer for loneliness: The next passage in chapter 2 tells us that God created work! Can you believe that? It’s true. Verse 15 tells us that “the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” So, no — work is not a consequence of the Fall. In fact, we already know that God also worked — for six days creating the universe — and showed us how wonderful and beautiful and satisfying work can be. Yes, the Lord gave work to us, both for our enjoyment and for its benefits to us. After all, doing work is how our character is developed, how we learn thoroughness, perseverance, cooperation. So many qualities that help us throughout our lives. Parents especially must emphasize this truth to young people — that duties like chores aren’t merely tools to get things done around the house!
OK, now for the key passage: After the Lord commanded the man to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he recognized that “it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” God then brought all the animals to him to name — yet no helper for him could be found among them.
See what’s happening here? The man wasn’t “alone” — but he still didn’t have his helper. So, first off, we see there’s a huge difference between being physically alone and feeling lonely. Sometimes being physically alone is good and needed. Jesus often would purposely get alone so he could spend time in prayer; and sometimes we need to get alone, too, for the same or similar reasons.
But what about when we feel lonely? Well, the world has an “answer” for that — and often the solution is finding someone to hook up with sexually until the lonely feelings subside. Problem is, they rarely do. The temporary satisfaction that might be gained is just that: Temporary. Fleeting. And then we’re right back to square one, hoping to find someone — anyone — who will bring ultimate comfort. And if you think that loneliness is satisfied by marriage, that might mean you haven’t been married yet! It’s not only possible but quite typical that, particularly during seasons of difficulty, one can feel lonely while married. And sadly, sometimes married people — even Christians — attempt to cure that lonely feeling by having affairs or getting divorced. Loneliness is a condition of the heart. It’s not just something single people experience!
Another place many of us feel lonely nowadays is on social media. We hop on our accounts each day hoping to feel more connected by gaining more “friends” or “likes” or “retweets” or “follows.” But such things are just ways to feel artificially connected — then sadness can creep in that no one cares, and no one understands. Despair. Rejection.
So, what is the opposite of feeling lonely? The answer: Feeling loved! And as we’ll see this coming Sunday, marriage certainly was designed as part of the solution for feeling loved in this world. But again, when we get right down to it, spouses aren’t the be all and end all of love. No husband or wife will ever love perfectly, right when we need it. And again, sadly, when many people leave marriages, the reasons are that their spouses aren’t loving them enough or in the right way — but that’s an unfair expectation because that never was the job of spouses. That’s God’s job, and God’s job alone!
Our loneliness problem is aided most completely by a personal relationship with the Lord. Again, he’s provided marriage and family and the church to lessen feelings of loneliness, but none of those wonderful gifts will ever be enough. Not completely. Not 100 percent of the time. Only God himself is enough.
And what the Lord does is fill our empty cups to overflowing — so much that we, in turn, have the capacity to reach out and be that person placed in someone else’s life by God to provide comfort. But still it all starts and ends with God!
So, whether we’re single or married, an extrovert or an introvert, each one of us must have a plan and address the issue of loneliness in our hearts. Why? Well, besides comforting you in your loneliness, God wants to do some amazing things in you and through you in the process! So the next time you feel lonely, resolve to live by the truth only God can truly comfort you — and what you’ll discover as you draw closer to the Lord is that he’ll draw closer to you — and with love so big that it fills in all the cracks, holes, and empty spaces.
The answer to loneliness is God alone. Seek him … and you will find him.