Friday, September 28, 2018

A friend - a hand - a hope

There is a newer show on reality TV about people being left alone to survive - but they are given survival items such as fire starter, knife, and sleeping bag. They just have to learn how to build a shelter and survive off the land. The main part of the survival experience is that you are alone, must stay alone, and cannot seek out the other 'survivalists' that are a mile or further away from you. The point is that you are being tested on 'standing alone'. Scripture pretty much discourages trying to stand alone, especially in times of trial and struggle. It is as though these folks are welcoming the extreme loneliness that comes when they don't have contact with others. I have seen them adopt pet field mice in order to have something to talk to and take care of beside themselves! We are created as social beings and attempting to remove ourselves from social contact completely is not well tolerated by our minds, hearts, and spirits!

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)

By yourself you're unprotected! We are not meant to stand alone - though we may try, we will inevitably fail - if not immediately, somewhere down the road. 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 observed the struggle Adam had even when surrounded by all manner of living creature in the Garden of Eden and he stated, "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 in our lives. He gives us each other so that we don't walk alone - so our 'emotional tank' gets refilled from time to time and we gather strength from each other's experiences, enjoyments, and revelations.

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 probably found yourself in the same sad state, too (or you will soon). 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 reached 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 actually 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. As mom always used to remind me - be a good friend, and you will befriend many a friend. Just sayin!