The lush greenery and quiet brought calmness as I deeply inhaled. As I walked with my friend along the path, she pointed out different landmarks and the history of the land we walked. Pausing, she pointed out the high stump of a tree trunk near the shore of the stream that ran through the property. It would have taken two people to wrap their arms around it. The rest of the tree lay fallen in the green scummed water. What could have caused such a large, sturdy tree to break near the halfway point? My friend pointed out the tangled mass of grapevine that had grown on and covered the tree, becoming so heavy it became too much for the mighty tree.
Do you ever believe you are strong enough to take on a pervasive, recurring sin? Is there a burden you think you can bear alone? Maybe you are suffering alone because you believe you are strong enough to keep on.
God did not design us to do life alone. In Genesis 2:18, the Lord stated it was not good for man, or woman, to be alone, in Ecclesiastes 4:12 NIV, it says,
The Lord made us for community and relationship. Even in the Trinity, we see this lived out; a threefold relational existence and He made us in His image.
Like the grapevine, sin is pervasive. It starts with a small, harmless little tendril but then slowly spreads out, winding up the trunk and along limbs, branches and leaves. Silently it weaves around and through with more and more, ever-growing and thickening vines until the trunk, the core, the soul, can’t bear the weight of it any longer and breaks, falling to the ground with an abysmal thud. There it is left to rot and decay alone as the grapevine moves relentlessly on.
We must be on constant guard against sin and the weak areas in our life. Sometimes, however, we can’t recognize the lie for what it is or don’t even see it in our lives. Maybe the sin or weakness is so enticing we can’t seem to fight it-something in our past or makeup makes the lure seem almost too strong to resist. Before we know it, we become entangled, unable to see a way out.
That is why we need others. We need them to speak the truth to us, to point out where we are losing ground, going astray. Trustworthy friends can help us fight the tide of emotions we feel in the middle of the struggle, and join us in hacking the vine of lies, deceit, and sin out of our souls, hearts and minds. Others can guide us to the truth found in God’s Word.
The same applies when we are suffering. We need others to help support us, to speak the comforting truth of Scripture to our weary souls, to help ease our burden of pain, reassure us we are never alone and pray with and for us.
The ruler of this world wants us to do life alone because then we are weak and vulnerable to his attacks. More and more, our society is becoming isolated and self-absorbed. It’s online shopping, online working, online gaming and online banking. We have become locked into the addiction to cell phones. There is less and less face-to-face communication with real people, people we can see, touch, and hear with their intonations and body language which is so much of understanding each other and connecting.
Sometimes we have to fight what is easiest and do the hard, more time-consuming thing. I know I am guilty of this. It is far easier and less threatening to send off a quick text or email, sit at home and watch church online in my pajamas, to do a Zoom call rather than go out in the cold, wet or night. But the reality is we NEED each other. God built us this way. Without relationships and community, we will end up like that tree, face down in the dirt and scummy water, alone and dead.
So, let’s take a step today toward genuine community and relationships. Make a phone call instead of texting. Meet someone in person for a meeting or a simple coffee to chat. Open up to someone about your struggle and ask for prayer. Find a trustworthy biblical counsellor or pastor to help free yourself from those vines. Take time, even a few moments, to spend with the One who is always with you. Ask for His help to bring others to stand with you. He is faithful to provide it.
If you want someone to pray for you, I would love to do that.