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Read |Genesis 2: 15 - 23|
The sun rises and sets; we wake and sleep. This ebb and flow between wakefulness and rest, like the rising and setting of the sun, marks time. To the brilliance of morning we awake and begin to apply vigor to meet life's daily demands: we are thinking, planning and striving. But not too long after, comes the slowing of our thinking and the ceasing of our striving, as we close our eyes to sleep. Sleep is a welcomed gift after labor, but it can also be a time of great vulnerability: a time when, in order to be restored, we give up control.
In the book of beginnings we come across our fore-parents' creation story. We learn how God formed Adam from the dust and made him alive by His breath. (Genesis 2: 7). We learn how God placed Adam in the midst of beautiful and bountiful provision and gave him parameters for enjoying it. (Genesis 2: 8 - 17). We learn that after all God's declarations of goodness, that he looked at Adam all alone and said, "It is not good for the man to be alone." (Genesis 2: 18). We learn that God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep, during which he fashioned woman (the suitable helper) from one of his ribs. (Genesis 2: 21 - 22). We learn that Adam opened his eyes to view the woman God made and rejoiced (Genesis 2: 23). And in recounting these details of their becoming, we can also learn lessons that encourage us to embrace God's invitation to rest.
God Knows Our Needs
While Adam is awake God is attentive, noting both that his creation is in need and what is needful. This fact is not much encouragement on its own. But, God does not stop short at knowing. He applies all His knowing to devise a plan that will minister to Adam's need. He declares, "I will make a helper suitable for him." (Genesis 2: 18, NIV). And then He places Adam into a deep sleep and makes him a suitable helper. (Genesis 2: 21 - 22).
God Can Do It Perfectly Alone
Asleep, Adam is unable to work. He cannot collaborate with God. It is God who carries, from thought to fruition, woman. It is only when God has finished that Adam is able to contribute, even his opinion. And when he beholds what God has done he exults, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” (Genesis 2: 23, NIV). Adam celebrates the benefits of rest--of God's perfect work on his behalf.
The Benefits of Rest
Adam's rest afforded him many treasures. First, he received help for his unspoken needs. In his slumber, God worked on his behalf to make the perfect helper (even in the absence of his asking). Second, he received the lived understanding that God is independent in His ability to perfectly meet his needs--freeing him from the burden of self-reliance. Third, he saw that God is willing to meet his needs. Fourth, he witnessed God's goodness, when at his most vulnerable All powerful God did not take advantage of him, but cared for him.
Beloved, we don't have to despise our frailty or incapacity to keep going. We can welcome the sun's setting, our slowed thinking and ceased striving and confidently enter rest that revitalizes our bodies and encourages our souls to rest in our good and beautiful God.
Carolyn Sinclair McCalla is an educator, Christian education youth coordinator, author, singer, workshop and retreat leader, speaker and founder and president of EarthBasic. However, she is first and foremost a daughter of God, with a passion for encouraging women to embrace the fullness of God's love for them in Jesus Christ. You can connect with Carolyn on facebook, Instagram and here.