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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Three-Stranded Cord

12 By yourself you're unprotected.
   With a friend you can face the worst.
   Can you round up a third?
   A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped.
(Ecclesiastes 4:12)

The Book of Ecclesiastes is not usually the first book I turn to when trying to find uplifting, encouraging words to fill my thoughts.  As a matter of fact, Solomon spent a great deal of time "bemoaning" the fate or futility of whatever he considered.  He has a lot of "negative" things to say about life - and he pours out his heart in the many verses contained within the book.  Interwoven every so often is a nougat of truth that will pop out like the one above - illuminating a truth that speaks volumes.

By yourself you're unprotected!  We are not meant to stand alone - though we may try, we will fail.  There is a principle taught from the very beginning of time that we need each other.  From the creation story forward, man was not meant to be alone.  God even said, "It is not good for man to be alone."  Don't get me wrong - God does not want us to become reliant on another to do in our lives what he intends to do.  He gives us each other so that we don't walk alone.

With a friend you can face the worst!  Let me be the first to admit that I have tried my best to "stand alone" in the midst of trial, fearful circumstances, and the worst of times.  In the end, I am miserable.  I daresay, if you've tried this yourself, you have found yourself in the same sad state, too.  Oh, you may not realize it, but it's true.  Unless you actually walk through something you are personally going through with another individual, you will never see the difference.  It wasn't until I reach the point of obedience to God that included letting others into my carefully guarded "space" others called "independence" that I fully realized how miserable it was to walk alone.

A three-stranded rope is not easily snapped!  Round up a third!  Having one close friend is awesome.  Having another is priceless!  The individuals God brings into our lives add value - some bring talent, others bring time, while still others bring invaluable treasure (love, respect, trust, etc.).  Each adds value.  Each brings a strength that we did not possess alone.  Two strands of yarn tightly entwined makes a significantly stronger piece of yarn - but add the third and it is a cord that brings support, strength, and sweetness to a relationship.

So, in the quest for words to encourage you with this morning - I offer these.  Be a friend.  Embrace a friend.  Draw from each other.  Encourage each other.  Open up to each other.  Learn to count on another.  Bring another into your trust.  Within the cords of that relationship there is strength immeasurable.  We are not meant to stand alone.