The National Science Foundation conducted an extensive research project on loneliness in America. The findings were highlighted in the “American Sociological Review.” After interviewing over 1,500 people — all face to face — researchers reported that one out of four Americans said they had “no one with whom they could talk about their personal troubles or triumphs.” Also, more than half of those interviewed said they had “no one to talk to beyond their immediate family.” This led researchers to conclude that there is growing “social isolation” in our country. Does that surprise you?
If these findings are true, then the next question is, “Why?” Why are we so desperate for relationships? Why do we need community so badly? Why are we wired this way?
The answer to the “Why?” question is found in the Bible. The reason community and healthy relationships matter so much is because you were created for community. You were created to know and be known, love and be loved, care and be cared for, celebrate and be celebrated. The Bible tells us that “God exists in community, one God existing in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” We see all three of them at work in creation.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light,” (Genesis 1.1-3 ESV). In this passage, we see God the Father as the grand designer. He conceived the heavens and the earth, bringing them into being. We see God the Spirit hovering over the face of the waters, not so much creating, but watching over until the creation reaches its desired completion. Then we see the spoken word — “Let there be light,” and the Word brings into being what the Father has in mind.
Later, in the Book of John we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” (John 1.1,14 ESV). The Word is Jesus. It is through Jesus that the world came into being, (Colossians 1.15-16 ESV). Right from the beginning, we learn that God exists in community. There was never a time when God did not know and enjoy community. It’s His nature. It’s who He is.
After creating the world, God created man “in his own image,” (Genesis 1.27 ESV). This means that we were created as His image bearers, and with that, comes our capacity and desire for community. You could say you have His “relational DNA” flowing through you.
After everything was created, God saw that it all was “good”! But there was one thing that was not good. Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him,” (Genesis 2.18 ESV). It was not good for man to live alone, so God created the first woman. He provided community.
This statement is not as much about marriage as it is about relationships. It is not good for people to live in isolation. When we do, we ache. While we were created for community, that community was lost because of sin. Sin divided what God created to be together. But through the cross, Jesus came to restore what was broken. In Christ, our relationship with God is restored, and in Christ, we are brought into a new community with one another. That new community is found in the church. This week we are going to look at the important role the church has in God’s plan for your life.
Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez