Adam and Eve. Theirs was truly a life to be envied. Can you imagine walking and talking with God in the cool of the day? Can you imagine the lushness and beauty of the Garden of Eden? What must it have been like to be fully exposed, naked, and unashamed? Their relationship with God and each other was one of perfection. Can you imagine? It was a perfect world.
And then sin entered the picture. Truth was distorted. Deceit and empty promises enticed. Eve chose first and Adam followed. And what was pure and perfect, lovely and whole, became shrouded in shame and disgrace.
The first thing they noticed once their eyes were opened was their nakedness. They scrambled to cover themselves up – to cover up their shame, to hide and withdraw. Sad. This wasn’t what God intended, but in his love he gave them the freedom to choose. And they chose.
When God found them – he is a God who pursues – he noticed their efforts to clothe themselves. He was disappointed and, dare I say, heartbroken. The freedom to be bare and completely known was gone. There were severe consequences for these actions, and we are still dealing with them today. And yet, even as God brought firm discipline to Adam and Eve for their disobedience, he extended grace. God made garments for them, out of skin, and clothed them. He knew the curse of sin that now entered the world, and he knew the shame that they would carry as a result of their sin, and so out of love he graciously clothed them and covered up their shame.
We have stuff. We have pain. We carry around our ugliness, our insecurities and our pasts – each one of us. But most of us are pretty good and hiding behind our fig leaves. We cover up our shame through good deeds, nice clothes, success, and lots of Bible knowledge. We are terrified to let anyone see our nakedness. But God sees. He knows. He longs, not to hide our sin, but to cover our sin with his grace. While he isn’t in the business of making animal print pencil skirts and blouses, he is in the business of restoring and covering our sin with his perfect love and undeserved grace. When Christ died on the cross he did so in order to bring this story of redemption full circle. He covered Adam and Eve’s physical nakedness in the Garden, but now we are covered completely in his blood.
This is good. Shame and confusion, hiding and fear, are the things that initially drove Adam and Eve away from God. God pursued and exposed, and then he clothed them. He is doing the same thing today. He gives us freedom to choose. He gives us room to make the unwise choice, but he also guarantees that his love is big enough, strong enough, and complete enough to gently expose our shame, and then cover us with His grace.