A Legacy of Striving



You opened your new eyes
in the garden that God Himself had planted.
Born a woman, you bypassed childhood,
and came into yourself with a rush of speech,
a flood of images,
and a seamless, three-way companionship: you, Adam, and Elohim.

Was Eden’s bird song the first sound in your perfect ears?
Or was it the world’s first love ballad, crooned by sleepy-eyed Adam
the moment he clapped his eyes on beautiful you?
“Bone of my bone; flesh of my flesh . . .”
Lonely no more, he riffed on the theme of his heart’s delight.

And so began the days of one flesh,
the days of naked and unashamed,
and the joyous sound of Elohim’s footsteps in the cool of the day.

But you and I, Sister Eve, are all of a piece in our restlessness,
For I, too, am prone to hanging around the wrong tree at the wrong time.
One glance too many at the forbidden fruit,
And suddenly there’s
The sibilant invitation:

“You can easily become like God.”

It’s all we can hear.

Unaware of the deadly implications, you were convinced
to want to be something other than what you were meant to be.

But then, your striving to be like God
is so much like my own cobbled-together omniscience:
Two parts worry,
One part hubris,
Larded through with a need for control.

I, too, would jump at the chance to know everything all the way from good to evil,
to see what’s really going on,
to be just like God. (Genesis 3:5 – MSG)
In my own ceaseless strivings, I have also thoughtlessly questioned the motives and challenged the truth claims of God.

Today, we call it “The Fall,” and it’s a well-known fact that when things fall,
they often break.
Your own beating heart must have shattered at the sound of God’s voice.
(“Where are you?”)

When His footsteps in the garden sent you cowering to the bushes,
did you look back on the moment when the thing you had longed for
was there in your hand?
The juice of accomplishment was still running down your chin
when paradise was lost, and you embarked upon
the beginning of hardscrabble living –
the end of the side-by-side co-regency.

My first instinct is to blame you for all of this:
The running and hiding;
The endless wanting;
Menstrual cramps and back labor;
This aging carcass that needs twice as long in front of a mirror
just to look half as good;
The endless cut, split, and stack of a winter’s firewood by a tired husband;
The crazy-dance around the zig-zagging boundaries that define who does what in the Body of Christ.

I want to lay the whole mess at your dainty, uncalloused, prelapsarian feet.

But then I remember the garments of skin (Genesis 3:21).
I recall how God lovingly clothed you before sending you out onto the cursed ground.
Your sin did not catch Him by surprise.
(Even heaven itself, apparently, was not safe from rebellion.)*
The redemption that was symbolized by those freshly killed pelts,
the covering for your naked shame—
This was no makeshift provision from a Deity caught off guard.

I, too, wear the bloody grace.

And when I read words of hope after the birth of your first son,
I wonder if God had somehow tipped His holy hand to you that all was not lost—
That a Son would one day have the power to make everything sad “come untrue.”

Just not yet.

And so the tab of sin that you started running all those years ago
Continues with my name on it,
Compounded daily,
Deed by faithless deed.

Like you, I am powerless to add righteousness to the tally.

But from your legacy, Sister-Eve, I learn this:

It is no sin to want.
It is not forbidden to strive to be more or to do more.
But only God is equipped to be God,
and when I trust Him for the unknown quantities that furrow my brow,
when I say the words, “Your will be done,”
I join hands with you in remembering
And in waiting for the plan of God to be fulfilled,
For He will stop at nothing to restore and to reconcile.

The split sea,
The scarlet cord,
The intervention of a pagan king named Cyrus,
And the splash down landing of Deity in Palestine are only pale reminders that redemption has already been set in motion.

One day we will see everything clearly.


The fog will lift.
The striving will be over,
And we will know Him fully.

*Isaiah 14:12