Throughout life there is a common desire that many struggle to find and often put
up walls to have. Throughout our lives, we long to be a part of a family, community,
or group that we can be ourselves. We desire to be open, honest, and vulnerable
to those that we love and are loved by. We long for a “Safe Place.” A place of intimacy
and safety where fear doesn’t dwell, control doesn’t inhibit us, and rejection is
never the reality. The question we often ask ourselves is, “Is there such a place?”
The answer to this question is profoundly a Yes! When God created man, he empowered
man to reign, thrive, overcome, etc. (Genesis 1:26-28) The Lord then put man in
a garden eastward in Eden where everything was provided for him to carry out the
purpose that God had created man for (Genesis 2:7,8). Man had intimacy with God,
animals to enjoy, vegetation to take care of, rivers to swim in, and life to experience
every day. Eden(pleasure) was man’s domain that he was supposed to take into the
whole world. Man was alone with God the Father. The Father then declared it wasn’t
good for man to be alone, therefore, a helper was brought forth (made) for man,
woman. Now before woman was made the Lord gave a specific purpose for man and that
was to dress and keep the garden of Eden. Eden was a safe place and a place of pleasure.
The pleasure of being in constant communion with God. To dress and keep the garden
meant to serve and protect or guard. Man was called to protect the “Safe Place”
the Lord had created for him, his future bride, and family. You see, when the Lord
brought the woman to the man (Genesis 2:22,25) safety was a part of their regular
habitation. The scripture declares that man and woman were both naked and not ashamed.
This nakedness wasn’t only physically, but emotionally, and spiritually. They were
safe to express their deepest thoughts and desires without the fear of being rejected,
laughed at, ignored, or scorned. They were open without fear or anything to hide.
They were truly living.
How Did We Get Here?
Our lives surely don’t resemble the Lord’s intent from the very beginning. Many
marriages and families hide their dreams in fear and never feel safe enough to talk
about the deep things of their hearts without holding back. Rejection, abandonment,
abuse, neglect, etc. have crippled many marriages and families. Dreams have turned
to nightmares and hopes of things getting better or changing have been dashed like
a clay pot thrown against a wall. Manipulation to get what you want or flat out
lying have become the norm. We suffer from depression, low self-worth, self-hatred,
and insecurity. I’m not just talking about the American culture, but more importantly
many in the body of Christ. We long for Eden, but very few experience the reality
of Eden. We were made for more than this! What happened to the Father’s dream and
design for us? Is this all that we can have? When Adam failed to dress, and keep
the “Safe Place” of the garden, an enemy came in and wreaked havoc on mankind. Fear,
guilt, shame began to cover man and building a wall of trees was man’s resort to
find safety again. The openness and intimacy man once knew became clouded and guarded
and we find ourselves grappling in the same situation today. Repeatedly we run amok
going here and there in attempt to find safety. From relationship to relationship,
church to church, and place to place. When will this ever end?
Eden (Safety) Restored
God sent a remedy to return us back to Eden and restore man’s intimacy and openness
with one another. Jesus came to restore the “Safe Place” that was lost in the garden.
Through Christ we can have deep intimacy and openness again. He has provided us
the ability to bring heaven to earth. Our families can dwell together with no fear
of rejection, abandonment, and condemnation. We only must receive this and then
agree to again protect and keep our Eden. We are called to make our homes safe places
where dreams, desires, and longings our expressed without shame. Men we are called
to lead in this and be the protectors of the “Safe Place” the Lord has restored
to us (Colossians 3:19,21). Men with our words and actions we protect the safety
of our marriages, families, and homes on a regular basis. 1 Timothy 3:1-5, 12 gives
church leaders to rule (care for, protect, etc.) their families and homes well before
they lead in the body of Christ. The Lord has anointed us and empowered us to provide
safety that our families long to live in. We can start by watching how we communicate
verbally and nonverbally. We need to make sure our words, tone, body language, and
actions communicate love, affirmation, and safety on a regular basis. This may be
a stretch for some, but it can be accomplished in the grace of God! Let’s enjoy
Eden again and provide a context for the next generation to dream the dreams of
God without the fear of rejection, abandonment, or condemnation. We were created
to live and love in a “Safe Place”!