15The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
18Then the Lord God said,It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.
Recently, I was meeting with a young woman who was disappointed that God had not yet brought a man into her life. She felt that God had given her a promise and as of yet, He had not delivered. Her hope was turning into bitterness. I gave her space to express all her frustrations and fears, and then I asked her one important question, “Are you tending your garden?” Immediately, she started telling me how she was planning for marriage – studying about boundaries, learning to cook and manage finances, and working on her self-image. She looked at me confused when I responded with, “That’s all great stuff in preparing for marriage, but that isn’t pursuing your purpose.”
That sweet girl was just doing what I see so many do. Her hope was to be married, and so her pursuit was marriage. That isn’t the order. Genesis 2 tells us that Adam was given the instructions to fulfill his purpose, work and keep the land, and only after that did God create for him a helper. God saw the need for relationship before man did! Before the need had time to surface, God already had a plan to bring a companion. Too often, we get in a hurry to find the companion, planning and training and pursuing, and all the time God is wanting to develop in us a vision and a purpose, first.
We need to have our priorities in order – relationship with Him. Jesus isn’t just in relationship with us to hold the place of our future spouse. He chose us first! Out of our intimacy with Him, we learn to guard our hearts as He fills our hearts. We need to know who we are in Him, have some vision for purpose and calling, and already be in the process of living that out, then God will send the helper.
So, are you tending your garden? Are you spending time in service and pursuit of God rather than dating and preparing for marriage? Do you have a clear idea of your gifts and strengths and how God can use them? Are you allowing Him time to develop those gifts in you, or do you find yourself making excuses for why you aren’t using them? Once you start pursuing your purpose and looking for ways to live it out, 1) You become too busy to worry about why your spouse isn’t around but can begin to pray for him and his purpose, and 2) You become more focused on your relationship with God to help you live out your own purpose. He already knows your heart, and He knows the plans He has for you, which may include the perfect companion, but if you aren’t yet doing what He’s asked you to do, it isn’t time to send help.