Sophie and I began reading the Children's Message version of the Bible for bedtime. I have read Genesis 3:14-19 many times in the past, the passage where God disciplines Adam and Eve for disobeying and distrusting Him. However, I had never read it like this before!
"God told the Woman, 'Now you'll give birth to your babies in pain. And pleasing your husband will be painful too.' He told the Man: 'Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from, saying 'Don't eat from this tree,' the very ground is cursed because of you; getting food from the ground will be as painful as having babies is for your wife; you'll be working in pain all your life long. The ground will sprout thorns and weeds, you'll get your food the hard way, sweating in the fields, until you return to that ground you started from, dead and buried."
Wow! Ain't that the truth!
For the woman, childbirth is painful, but it's equally painful to please my husband. I had to laugh when I read it. The NIV version says, "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." It's a loaded concept, the idea that as wives we have a tendency to obsess about our husbands, not in the sense that I'm infatuated, but in the sense that I want to have control over his time, the way he treats me, the way he views me. That stems from wanting to please him. I think most of my insecurities over my body image also stem from wanting to be pleasing to my husband, and wondering if I am really the one he still wants to be with year after year. And how many times have I started a sentence with, "If you loved me, then. . ." I don't like being this way- it's painful!
The flip side is that our husbands are cursed by their job, which takes up a good 8 hours or more of their day. They work and toil, sweat and plow, and do it all over again the next day. According to the Message, a man's work is as painful as childbirth! Again, I had to laugh. Over the years my husband has shared many difficult "birthing stories," and if I were really aware that to him, work is as incredibly painful as childbirth, I would be a little more merciful in my reactions to another story from work. However, I still don't think ANYTHING is as hard as childbirth- can I get an Amen, sisters? :)
As my husband and I are coming up on our 13th wedding anniversary this weekend, reading this passage brought a smile to my face. We have had some wonderful times, but we have also had very difficult times, and many of them are related to these same issues that Adam and Eve were cursed with from the beginning of time. I find a strange comfort in that. It's okay to have these tensions in life. We have to learn to manage them, not expect to get rid of them; that's just not going to happen on this side of heaven! Pain is to be expected in marriage and daily life; sounds strange, but it's Biblical! We are all broken- men and women, husbands and wives- but as long as we fix our eyes on the author and perfecter of our faith, we will at least end up in the same place, in His presence, together.
Who knew that God would speak to me in a kid-version of the Bible tonight? I love when He surprises me like that!