It not so much surprising that men toil the ground in hardship but that the Lord still blesses them with a harvest. It is not so surprising that women endure pain in childbirth, but that the joy of motherhood is the end result of that pain. Genesis chapter 3 is full of both blessings and curses. I remember as a young Christian bemoaning the curses, struggling to find the grace of God in the Garden. And yet, Genesis 3 sets the paradigm of God’s gracious dealings with a rebellious humanity in a fallen world. Even in the midst of sin’s curse grace will abound.
The pain of husbandry (both of the land and a wife) will still produce the blessing of food and family. The increased pain of nurture (both of child and husband) will still produce the blessing of increased joy. This is the way of salvation. Bruised heels bring crushed heads. Christ fulfilled this once and for all on the cross for all those who would look to Him. For those who were under a curse, Jesus became a curse so that our curse could be broken and grace, once seen in thin rays veiled behind the clouds of death, could come bursting forth with full radiance and glory. Thus, the blessing of Aaron to the people of Israel is ours today and forevermore:
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24)