Genesis 2:18–25 ‘The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”’(v18)
‘Good’ means suitable – and any ethical sense we associate with the word, such as to do a good deed, is really quite a modern concept.* This fits our text admirably, for God sees that it is unsuitable for Adam to be alone. There is recognition that just as God is Trinity, three persons in one essence, humanity is in need of community to flourish.
Hence, God creates a partner for Adam. We can conclude that God consistently looks for the good, and cannot live comfortably within its opposite – with ‘bad’ meaning unsatisfactory. It’s why God’s Spirit constantly provokes us towards right living so that we may enjoy an increasing sense of God’s presence with us. Goodness is not for God’s benefit but ours.
In forming life at creation’s birth, God draws us towards completeness in our every context. Loneliness remains an enemy to human fulfillment. It leads us towards discouragement and dejection, a sense of exclusion from community.
However, solitude is the space we all require to explore a greater understanding of ourselves, where and why we live as we do, and to develop our personal encounter with God. In the silence that accompanies solitude we face the very worst of ourselves, whilst discovering our real need for community; not to distract us from the world, but as the threshold that leads to serving the world through God’s grace. Solitude acts as God’s workshop for human development.
SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Gen. 32:22–32; 1 Kings 17:2–16; Luke 4:1–14,38–44.
AN ACTION TO TAKE: When and where do you find community or a sense of escape? Community deepens our sense of identity and belonging; solitude reveals our need for it.
A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, help me to learn the difference between loneliness and solitude, and build community effectively with others. Amen.’
Photo by SuSanA Secretariat on Flickr