Community. What comes to mind when you hear this word? Some might think it's a good comedy on NBC, other's might think it's the area in which someone resides or works. Dictionary.com defines it as "a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific
locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage."
Well, this definition just isn't good enough for me.
I've recently noticed a lot of things about the American family dynamic and maybe even the individual, too. It's called isolation. Most people just don't wanna hang out anymore. Friends, families, churches, dating, transportation, have been moved into segments of solitude. Do you know how people used to date? Homeboy would come over to homegirl's house and they would sit in the parlor with her parents and talk over tea and then he would leave. None of this going out alone stuff, peeps would be lucky if they got a carriage ride together with a sibling chaperon. They got to know each other in community and then boom, married.
Growing up, I don't remember my parents ever going out to do things with friends and if they did it was rare. Starting with the Baby Boomer generation and the surge of technology, American households have become isolated spouses with their two-and-a-half children. For some reason we feel the need not to get to know our neighbors or learn more about our co-workers. You sit down, shut up, get your work done, and keep to yourself. When you do get home, turn the television on, order a pizza, and go on auto-pilot for the rest of the night.
Newsflash people: We Need Each Other.
Taking on a problem alone is the worst thing you could ever do for yourself. Just think of how much better life would be if we all pursued each other and really dug into each other's lives. I promise I don't relate everything to How I Met Your Mother, but think about one of the most appealing aspects of the show. It's the friendships between Robin, Ted, Barney, Lili, and Marshall. They aren't afraid to spill their guts to each other, call each other out on the absolute ridiculous things they do at times, and are right there to pick them up when they carry out said ridiculous things. That's community.
There's no denying that life really sucks a lot of the time. The book of Ecclesiastes doesn't hesitate to tell us that. But in light of all the gloom and doom, it does tell us that "a cord of three strands is not quickly broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:12, NIV)
When you reach the end of your life, are you going to remember the mindless Friday night sitcoms or the night you sat at Starbucks til 2 in the morning in the blistering cold talking to your boss, neighbor, sister, pastor, friend, brother, wife, husband, child about life?
Don't get too caught up in your job, your bills, your struggles, your depression, etc. to pursue people. That one night in the parking lot or in the lobby, it may have saved that marriage. That evening after a friend's birthday party, it may have saved that person from foreclosing on their house. That lunch after church, it may have kept that person from committing suicide.
Don't rob others of the time and support they need from you, and don't rob yourself of time and support you need from others. You are not a burden or a charity case because you have struggles. People want to be in the mess with you because they love and care about you and they most definitely want to bring you through it.
Most importantly, when humans fail you, the Trinity does not. The Holy Spirit is always with you in whatever trial you face. Jesus already died for that struggle so that you can claim victory over it, and God would never put you in a situation that He wouldn't go into Himself.
Imagine the biggest thing you can think of. An elephant. A mountain. The Solar System. Now multiply that by 20,000 to the 80th power. Big amount, right? That is only a drop in the sea of how much God loves you.
I don't know what your struggle is today or this week or this month or this year. (If I could reach through this computer screen and hug you, I absolutely would.) But I do know that no matter what your struggle is, you are not alone in it. For those of you who know Christ, I encourage you to take comfort in His sovereignty and love, and to take action in pursuing people that you think or know might need a glimpse of His hope and peace. For those of you who might not know Christ, I encourage you to find someone who does. Hey, Christians aren't perfect, but we have access to someone who is and we definitely want to introduce you to Him.
Because I know one thing, you are way too loved and cared for to go through anything alone.