Men have long denied those they have claimed to love the most. Women have long made the mistake of thinking men are greater than they are.
Adam threw Eve under the bus and, as far as we know, up to a few moments before he denied responsibility for his woman – his love and his life – they were both the most perfectly created humans ever to walk the earth. They were created in the image and presence of the Creator who was with them until the moment of their disobedience – or until the moment of their willful rejection of God’s love.
If Eve, or God, for that matter, couldn’t depend on Adam to speak up in defense of his love, who am I to hope for a man to step up and speak for me?
In such a context, my hope and prayer may seem absurd. But as we move forward in the Divine Story, we are graced with vignettes of men standing, fighting, sacrificing and speaking up for their love – love for God, love for friends, love for their wife and their family.
Joseph, son of Jacob, was such a profound believer that each vision God gave him was shared with anyone who was within hearing. He believed God would bring about whatever vision Joseph received from Him. In sharing his dreams he also testified about God’s activity in his life.
Joseph survived heartbreaking and faith-defying betrayals yet he prospered in every pit he was thrown into because he spoke up for God wherever he was. Towards the end of his life, even as his childhood visions were coming to fruition, he told the brothers who sold him into slavery that he forgave them because the evil they intended to inflict upon him, God had instead used to bless him and make him a blessing. All of Joseph’s hardships became a testimony for God. Joseph rose to the challenge of speaking of God’s goodness and faithfulness even as he was left to die in a pit, a dungeon and bonded servitude. Nothing about his circumstances changed his view of his God. And none of his experiences erased the visions God had given him. He never gave in to discouragement. Instead, he took every opportunity to prove himself an obedient servant to his Lord God.
Boaz went to the city gate to redeem – claim –Ruth. There was one other who had a stronger claim on Ruth, so Boaz publically confronted that man and demanded he claim Ruth at that moment or renounce his right to claim her forever more. The man renounced his claim on Ruth in favor of what he already had at home. Boaz walked away from the confrontation at the city gate where he had many witnesses to his new status as the husband of Ruth the Moabitess. Boaz wore his new title and responsibility with conviction, grace, gratitude and resolve.
Jonathan spoke of his love and friendship for David. Their friendship was complicated by the fact that Jonathan’s father, King Saul, was actively and faithfully trying to kill David. Jonathan walked a thin line, defending and supporting a man who incited an increasingly violent rage in his father. But Jonathan remained a true friend to David, as he promised he would be, until he died.
Joseph the carpenter, learned that his fiancée Mary had gotten pregnant without him. He had no desire to disgrace her publicly by breaking their engagement, so in his heart he decided he would set her aside privately. In Matthew 1:20-21, we are told, “While Joseph thought about these things, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, ‘Joseph, descendant of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the baby in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’” (NCV)
Joseph woke up from that dream and did exactly what he was told to do – he went to make Mary his wife.
In reviewing these stories I come away with the assurance that in each of our lives God has already appointed someone to be His mouthpiece to guide us along our journey. He has already positioned someone to step up and claim us with honor and integrity. He is in the process of training someone to minister to our individual needs, in His name, even as we are being trained to do the same.
I believe every man has in him the Adam who renounces his spirituality in favor of his immediate physical gratification. Every man has a God-given vision he can’t let go of or run away from. I believe every man can tap into a vast store of conviction, grace, gratitude and resolve when he steps up to be the redeemer he is called to be despite his flaws. At some point in life, every man will have a friend he will willingly lay down his life for. And just when he thought it was over, the man will awaken from the slumber the world has placed him in and answer the call God has put in his heart. He will become the man he resisted becoming for so long. He will become the man God envisioned him to be at the beginning of Creation; before he was ever able to reject God.
This is the man to whom I speak – the man who is actively becoming all he is meant to be.
But, who will speak for the woman I am and the woman I am becoming?
I may not be able to answer that definitively here and now, but I trust that God has indeed made provision for me to be well-spoken for by a son He is well-pleased with.Reference passages: Genesis 3:7-12 Genesis 45:1-8 Ruth 4:1-10 1 Samuel 20:1-17 Matthew 1:18-24