My wife and I vacationed with some very close friends in the North Georgia Mountains this past weekend. We were all sitting around the fire ring on Friday night. Laughter abounded. Friendship filled the air. In the midst of the fun, I excused myself and retired to bed. My MS sometimes causes me to pull away and isolate myself. A desire to isolate one’s self is a common MS symptom. It isn’t healthy. Neither is being an isolated Christian! We were not meant to journey alone. Please read more…
As we sat around the fire ring, the sparks rose from the fire dancing their way up to meet the stars that dotted the vast night sky. We reminisced over years gone by. Yet, even in this idyllic setting, my MS caused me to retreat inside myself. I was not enjoying the evening, nor laughing as much as the others. My thoughts drifted to a lonely space inside. I felt a need to be alone. I left and headed indoors to go to bed. That’s enough about me.
I only used my story above to illustrate a broader point. Permit me to ask you a few questions. Have you ever felt the need to isolate yourself? What caused you to feel the need to pull away? Many things in life can weigh heavy on us. Grief can weigh on us like a wet blanket. Loneliness can creep in and attack us in the midst of a crowded room. The headlines of the day can bring us down. Friends can say and or do things that make us mad and cause us to pull away. Long term illnesses can zap our strength. Financial pressures can cause distress. Family problems can be taxing. Some days the joy in life can seem to drain away.
There are other days where our exuberance and over confidence prompts us to believe that we have all of the answers. We think we can tackle the world on our own. This is never true.
The real fact is this, we are designed by our creator to be communal people. Whether we are in the storms of life or feel as if we are on top of the world, we need to be with other people. God created us this way.
Genesis 2:18 states: “The LORD God said: It is not good for the man to be alone.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says it this way: “Two are better than one: They get a good wage for their toil. If the one falls, the other will help the fallen one. But woe to the solitary person! If that one should fall, there is no other to help.”
Ecclesiastes 4:12 gives us guidance. It can be dissected into three separate parts. We are given a warning, a recommendation and hope. Here is the warning: “one alone may be overcome.” Here is the recommendation: “two together can resist.” Finally, we find hope in these words: “a three-ply cord is not easily broken.”
Simply stated, living in Christian fellowship is the best way to live. Essentially it is a must. We gain some powerful words of wisdom when in Galatians 6:2 we read: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Hebrews 10:25 has this to tell us: “We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another.”
The Bible is clear on the necessity of Christian community. God does not want us to journey alone through life. Life has its challenges. Sometimes we need a helping hand. Sometimes we need a sympathetic ear to listen to us. Sometimes we need consoling. Sometimes we just need to know that others care. We always need to be loved.
Our own sin can weigh us down and living in a broken world can occasionally rob us of the joys of life. Whether it is our sin or the effects of this broken world that attempt to drive us into isolation, we must try to resist doing so. Being surrounded by caring friends can make all of the difference in the world.
Sure there are times where a little solitude is a welcomed escape from the noise of life. Stillness in proper doses can be healing. But this does not change our innate need for community.
I must complete the story I started with. We spent the rest of the weekend with these friends. My desire to isolate myself quickly evaporated on Saturday morning. It was washed away by the love of these good friends. Their love for life and our shared love for Jesus Christ filled the balance of our time together.
In summary, let’s remember that as Christians we are all part of the one body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:21 tells us: “The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I do not need you.” Further on in verse 26 it states: “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.”
Heavenly Father, please keep me in your care and always surround me with caring people who share a common love for your Son Jesus. Keep me from ever feeling alone. Amen.
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