I’ve always liked the stories of creation in the Bible. The first chapter of Genesis contains a simply wonderful story that points us toward the power of the God who is able to “speak” things into existence and who openly testifies that everything He has created is “good.” The second chapter of Genesis is a bit different. Here, we see a more “hands-on” type of God who plays in the dirt. God scoops together a bunch of dirt – forms the dust into a person – breathes His own breath into the person’s nostrils – and fills that person with “life.” The stories are very different; but, they point toward a unified theme. God is God. Everything that exists has been made by the Creator. God is sovereign. God is mighty. God is the “First Principle.”
But the stories of creation in the Bible, when considered together, point us toward a great truth in life that is particularly relevant when we’re hurting. In the first story, God declares that what He has made is “good” – and, in fact, He says that human beings are “very good.” Everything seems to be in order. Everything has been created the way God wants it to be. And I guess we should just be able to carry that theme into the second chapter of Genesis, right? Once again, God is the Creator. Once again, God creates the world – and all of the plants and animals and people. But, in Genesis 2:18, God surprises us by saying, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” For the first time, something is “wrong” with Creation. For the first time, God sees that there’s something that needs to be changed to make things “good” again. And this is significant!
When we’re hurt by other people – or when we face challenges in life – it is very easy for us to become isolated. Soldiers, who have returned from combat, often suffer the effects of PTSD – and many of them suffer in silence. People who are going through a divorce often see their married friends disappear and they can feel very much alone. People who are diagnosed with a serious illness quickly discover that other people don’t understand what they are experiencing and feeling. Depression can be extremely isolating – no matter what the cause.
And that brings us back, once again, to the hurts in our own lives. Have you been through a time in life that left you feeling alone and isolated? Have you experienced a time (or times) in your life when other people avoided you because they didn’t know what to say? In the last year, I’ve learned that people sometimes “forget” about people who are grieving – and often leave those who are mourning alone. The isolation can be almost unbearable in the lives of children (and adults) who are being abused. Many people, who have been the victim of a crime, don’t even report the offense to the police. People, who live with the effects of a past trauma or injury, can live their entire lives feeling that nobody understands them. Loneliness can totally consume people who suffer the effects of a mental illness that is often the “driving-force” behind their continued depression and low self-esteem.
And yet, even in the midst of our hurt, God continues to say that it’s not good for us to be alone. God continues to remind us, even in the midst of our challenges, that we really do need the love and support of other people – even in the times of life when we’re tempted to close doors and cut ourselves off. Have you ever found yourself withdrawing from others during a difficult time? Have you ever wished that people could more easily see the pain that you are experiencing, and respond with love and support? Have you ever pulled back from others and isolated yourself – and then, grown angry because other people don’t care?
God does not want us to be alone in our struggles – and in fact, God tells us that it isn’t good for us to be alone. It’s hard to reach-out toward others when we’re hurting. It’s hard for us to be open and honest with others when we’re feeling vulnerable. But the alternative is the very kind of “isolation” that God talks about in the second chapter of Genesis. The alternative is to live with something in our lives that even God says is simply “not good.”