Photo by Isaac Ordaz on Unsplash
Read: Genesis 2:18-24
My oldest son came home from college for Christmas break with a new reality TV show he wanted to introduce to us. It is a survivalist show where 10 people get taken out into the barren wilderness of Canada and are left there with only 10 preselected items. Any weapons they take with them must be “primitive,” meaning no guns or compound bows. When the contestants are dropped off, they begin to build shelters, scavenge for food, and familiarize themselves with their surroundings in order to see who can survive the longest on their own. The winner earns a jackpot of $500,000.
I was expecting to be educated as much as entertained by this show. After all, what do I know about being a survivalist? I am sitting in my fully plumbed, electricity enabled, internet supplied, cable infused, central heating and air equipped house snacking on chips and queso that I pulled from my fully stocked kitchen! These men and women are digging holes to go to the bathroom, carving fishing poles out of fallen limbs, and thatching the walls of their newly constructed lean-tos with mud and moss! I felt a symbiotic kinship with each bite of queso as I imagined it filling the holes of my arteries.
There are numerous life-threatening obstacles that each contestant must navigate in order to survive. They have to find a water source and be able to create fire so that they can boil the water prior to drinking it. They must find edible plants, create snares or traps for small game, and figure out a way to fish or hunt; otherwise, they will starve. Within a month of arriving, snow has blanketed the whole area signaling the end of the growing season. This means that finding food to eat becomes more difficult, and the temperatures are staying at hypothermic levels nearly all day! And if the elements and conditions don’t do them in, there is always the threat of bears and mountain lions who are also trying to survive the winter. Every moment is baited with life-threatening potential.
In such hazardous conditions, one would expect that the reasons why contestants can’t survive and have to be rescued from their locations are injury or malnutrition or hypothermia. However, those things are not what most of the contestants say are the most difficult parts of surviving. The thing that makes most contestants throw in the towel is also the first thing that God noticed was not good in the world that He had created…loneliness. The name of the show actually gives an indication as to what the show is really about. It’s not called “Survivalist” or “Beginning From Scratch.” The show is titled “Alone.”
As we’ve traveled through these first two chapters of Genesis, the repetition of the phrase “And God saw that it was good,” is prevalent everywhere. It’s not until we reach the end of chapter 2 that God notices Adam’s loneliness and declares that it is NOT good. It makes logical sense to me that if we are made in the image of the triune God who has eternally loved and enjoyed the company of each person of the Godhead, then we also must have a created need for relationship. And so God, in his infinite wisdom, made Eve as the perfect complement to Adam: someone like him but different; someone strong where he was weak.
As you ready yourself for worship this Sunday, take time to consider the mercy of companionship. Bonhoffer famously said, “The Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the word of his brother; his own heart is uncertain, his brother’s is sure.” And consider the kindness of the complementary way we’ve been made male and female. Though we often see things so differently, the perspective of your counter-gender is fuller and grander than your own. Praise God. It is good!