By Jason Harrison
A little over a week ago, my family took a mini vacation to Wisconsin Dells, where we stayed at a lodge with a water park. My two-year-old, Lily, was very excited for the “poo” (her version of “pool”).
I could tell she was excited, but I also sensed her anxiety and insecurity. She moved a little cautiously at first in the kitty pool, but within a few minutes she had lost most of her apprehension, splashing around and even dunking her head. She quickly grew accustomed to the risk of swimming at a water park.
Risk has been a familiar topic over this past year because of the pandemic. Some consider certain activities not worth the risk, while others have already grown accustomed to extra risks. They’ve added them to the risks we faced prior to the pandemic. There is something worth exploring here.
One thing the pandemic highlights is the reality other that people can hurt you, harm you, and even kill you. It revealed that getting too close to someone (within six feet) can leave you worse off than avoiding contact altogether.
You’ve probably had the experience of meeting a stranger on the sidewalk. The stranger looks at you over their mask like you are rabid and gives you a wide berth. They see you as a threat to their safety and health. Getting too close can be dangerous.
Now, this is not new to this past year. Relationships have always been dangerous. In fact, it goes all the way back to the beginning. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit, the first thing they experienced was insecurity—the feeling of danger and uncertainty with each other.
Genesis 3:7 says, Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
The Bible says that they realized they were naked. They suddenly became conscious of how vulnerable they were with one another. There was an immediate sense of danger that made them insecure in the presence of God and each other without some kind of covering. The entrance of sin led to insecurity, the possibility of pain and, ultimately, death. As a result, they created a covering for themselves.
Before the fall, Adam and Eve experienced perfect harmony and security with each other and with God. They did not see each other as threats to their safety. They experienced zero insecurity and anxiety. That all changed when they ate the fruit. In his exposition of Genesis, Allen Ross says, “Mistrust and alienation replaced the security and intimacy they had enjoyed” (Allen Ross, Creation and Blessing, 137).
Since that moment, our desire for independence from God makes us vulnerable before him. As Richard Lovelace said, our awareness of being independent of God leaves us with “unrelieved consciousness of guilt.” This produces profound insecurity in an unbeliever and in the Christian who is not walking in the light.
We are all insecure. And our insecurity and anxiety find their roots in the fall. They are consequences of the common curse we all face. As a result, we try our best to sew fig leaves together as a cover. Our attempts, however, to cover ourselves always prove futile. And the reason is clearer than ever: the presence of death. We live in the valley of the shadow of death.
Here is another reason the gospel is truly life giving. We see the grace of God almost immediately in Genesis 3. What does God do? He makes garments of skin for Adam and Eve through sacrifice, blood, and death. He clothes them. And his clothing is infinitely better than our feeble attempts (i.e. wealth, isolation, overcompensation, self-talk, gossip, etc.).
The truth is we cannot rise above our insecurities without God’s provision—the covering provision brought by sacrifice through blood—the blood of the Lamb. Jesus is our covering. Sin has laid us bare; Christ covers us by his cross. “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27). Not only does Christ cover our sins, he also provides stability forever under the security of his righteousness imputed to us.
It is Christ’s death and resurrection that finally and ultimately ends death’s reign of terror. The result is security and peace in an insecure, anxious world.