From Dust

This week, we’ve been walking through the story of Genesis.  So far, life in the Garden has been beautiful for Adam and Eve, just as God intended.  But when the serpent shows up,  everything changes.  Eve is tempted by Satan and everything is shifted.  There have to be consequences for sin, so God curses Satan and humanity.
God says to the woman, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children.” - Genesis 3:16

God says to Adam, “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.” - Genesis 3:17-19

This may sound cruel of God to curse His own creation, but there have to be consequences for our own sin.  God chose to give us free will, and this leaves room for the greatest redemption story.
I was trying to think of a time when I walked through a big disappointment…a time when everything was going well and then a big disappointment came and I felt like God wasn’t on my side.  And I realized that we’re all living through the same disappointment all together.  After spring break, our lives and schedules were majorly altered very suddenly due to COVID-19 to finish out the semester how we had hoped.  Now I realize that this disappointment is a bit different than the story in Genesis, but this is a real life example that we can all relate to.

This disappointment brought a wave of different emotions.  I missed normal life where we could go to stores and restaurants, hang out with people, give hugs, and go to big gatherings.  Then it went deeper.  I was lonely without my friends.  More than lonely, I didn’t know who I was without them.  I realized that I really depend on the praises of other people.  I realized that I love to depend on people to tell me who I am, and I don’t know how to be myself without that.  I missed my work that I did at Wesley.  I based so much of my identity on my work and what I’m able to produce.  It took a pandemic to strip all those things away from my life and for me to realize how much I depend on things other than God.
Even when I felt far from God because there were so many things missing in my life, He is redeeming it in a big way.  Through this big disappointment, God is redeeming my friendship and dependence on Him.  All of the other things that get in my way of seeing God were removed.  And just me and God were left.  The only person worthy of my dependence and my greatest friendship is God.  He is 100% dependable and worthy of my first attention before I look at anyone else.  And when this is all over and my normal life is returned, when I can see all my friends again and work again, I can enjoy those things. However, I will know that they can never take the spot of God in my life.  That these things are good, but they can only be enjoyed how God intended if God remains the most important thing to me.

So that’s how God is redeeming a big disappointment for me.  I didn’t expect it.  I didn’t see it coming.  But it happened all the same.  It wasn’t up to me to create the redemption story.  It was God’s plan all along, and I just had to pay attention and notice what He was doing.
In Genesis 3:19 God tells Adam, “for dust you are and to dust you will return.”  That verse makes me think of Steffany Gretzinger’s song, Dust.  I am nothing without God, and I will try my best to live in total dependence on Him.

I am dust, You are God
For I am breathless till You fill my lungs
I'm in need, You're enough
I am helpless till You pick me up
I am depending on Love
The hope of Your promise to us
That we are Your daughters and sons
And gently You're fathering us

Author | Sam Forbes





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