Why did God curse Eve with loneliness and heartache, an emptiness that nothing would be able to fill? Wasn’t her life going to be hard enough out there in the world, banished from the Garden that was her true home, her only home, never able to return? It seems unkind. Cruel, even.
He did it to save her. For as we all know personally, something in Eve’s heart shifted at the Fall. Something sent its roots down deep into her soul—and ours—that mistrust of God’s heart, that resolution to find life on our own terms. So God has to thwart her. In love, he has to block her attempts until, wounded and aching, she turns to him and him alone for her rescue.
Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
I will wall her in so she cannot find her way.
She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them. (Hos. 2:6–7)
Jesus has to thwart us too—thwart our self-redemptive plans, our controlling and our hiding, thwart the ways we are seeking to fill the ache within us. Otherwise, we would never fully turn to him for our rescue. Oh, we might turn to him for our “salvation,” for a ticket to heaven when we die. We might turn to him even in the form of Christian service, regular church attendance, a moral life. But inside, our hearts remain broken and captive and far from the One who can help us.
And so you will see the gentle, firm hand of God in a woman’s life hemming her in. He’ll make what once was a great job miserable, if it was in her career that she found shelter. He’ll bring hardship into her marriage, even to the breaking point, if it was in marriage she sought her salvation. Wherever it is we have sought life apart from him, he disrupts our plans, our “way of life” that is not life at all.