Steadfast Love Week 7
Doubt can destroy a relationship. Do we really have what it takes? Doubt will lead you to question the foundation between you and if unchecked will contradict steadfast love.
“You can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
The beginning can be rough. You are blending two families. And what you place your identity in plays a major role. Is your race or ethic background the lens you see the world through? Is your family’s economic success or poverty shaping your approach to budgeting? These differences can create doubt about whether love is enough. The saying “fools rush in” comes to mind. Is the bond between you strong enough? Tension builds as a subversive narrative slips past the euphoria of “all you need is love”. Sometimes it is an irrational fear based on your past relationships. Whatever the case doubt must be weeded out in order to maintain a healthy relationship.
If we look at the beginning of doubt the origin has insight. Look all the way back to Adam and Eve and gain understanding. Doubt is strongest after they had both, in the wrong, accused one another and done so before God.
Accusations erode intimacy and linger between them. And in the face of ultimately a really negative outcome, loss of a perfect track record, loss of their home, loss of innocence, and yeah future struggles were guaranteed as a result of their wrong. Ouch, they must have been spinning. A new a reality is clear. They had no opportunity to change the situation. Even in Eden with access to the powerful Creator God there was no “back to the future fix” for the original husband and wife. They could only move forward.
As you look at the dialogue in Genesis 3 you can see there would be heavy implications of doubt between Adam and Eve. Questions plague us when in doubt. I’m sure they had plenty. Adam and Eve attempt to cover themselves. Shame and guilt are born.
They have to look forward in hope. A future word from God stands tall in the crowd of curses spoken. The future HOPE will ultimately eradicate the subtlety of the serpent and destroy him altogether squelching the doubts he brought with him.
Note this serpent is crafty. His offer had been appealing and even attractive. They fell for it. And afterward the only enlightenment hanging around was fear. They both had taken and ate. Guilty. We all have taken and ate. Where do we go from here?
God, in Adam shows us. In his first positive response to it all he calls his wife Eve. He reconciles her to himself. He basically regains the high ground and makes a good choice. She will become the mother of all living. Death would enter, but Adam–in line with his identity and God commissioning, names her. And her name is associated with life.
In the face of doubt your natural tendency is to lean into fear and pull away. So many of us will name one another terribly in those moments. In fear we run from God and from the hard places of love. Adam calls Eve by her true identity. In the midst of the conflict he says I see you I know who you are. And after this act God steps in and clothes them. Literally and spiritually.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you…”
Ultimately your relationship needs God. At some bend you will take and eat. And you will either doubt or turn to a God of mercy who holds the remedy.
He is the solution to the tension of doubt. Did we fall too far? No, you haven’t. Wrongs can be made right. When Jesus says at the table with the twelve this is my body take and eat a new solution materialized. He will cover us with grace. He will offer us pardon and a return to pure steadfast love. Now the depth of what is given has context. We understand He has chosen the hardest way of love, the self-sacrifice and enduring qualities of God are seen. It isn’t what about me? How will I survive this. Christ offers his life. And in his take and eat option we have life. The forgiveness of wrong, offered to us enables us to forgive one another. Trust in Christ’s perfect track record, rather than hers or his. Trust that God will enable you by grace to prioritize the we instead of the me.
As you move forward:
1) Call one another by their true identity, do not let failure define one another.
2) Forgive quickly and move forward.
3) Know grace is there because God is there.
“He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
Genesis 3:10-16 NIV
“To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”
Genesis 3:17-21 NIV