I belong to a book club/Bible study group made up of a dozen or so ladies ranging in age from about 35 to 75. We encourage each other, and help each other out by sharing from our wide base of experiences, as well as with practical things like painting and kitchen duties. And we laugh. A lot. These ladies have become very dear friends to me, and I look forward to and treasure our times together. It has never mattered what book we chose to read; I attend because I value their friendship.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon, a king known for his wisdom, laments the meaninglessness of almost everything, but in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, he promotes the benefits of companionship. Life is better with a friend or two. Labour is easier. Some tasks are just too difficult, even for a strong, independent person to do alone. If one gets hurt or into a bad situation, another is there to call for help. If they are travelling through the wilderness, as many would have in Solomon’s day, they can huddle together to stay warm. Today think of being in a stranded vehicle on an isolated highway in the winter. And, perhaps, most important of all, they can protect each other from their adversary. We do that in our group. We help each other to see how the enemy, Satan, is attacking our souls, and we stand together on God’s word, and through prayer, to fight back. Like a three-stranded cord, we are stronger together.
In the beginning, when God created each aspect of the universe, He declared it good. The first thing that He declared not good was that man was alone. (Genesis 2:18) So He created a helper suitable for him. Galatians 6:2 instructs us to bear one another’s burdens, and Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us to not give up meeting together. We were made for community. George Eliot described a best friend as a “well-spring in the wilderness”, an oasis. Take time to cultivate your friendships. All other striving is meaningless without them.