It is not good for man to be alone. These are the words spoken before a deep sleep comes upon the man. God takes a rib from his side, and from him, He creates a woman. His helper. His companion. It is not good for man to be alone. This is often referenced within the context of marriage. In the context of man and woman being united as one flesh before the Lord, and in so doing being united until death parts them. At weddings, there are jokes about how one of them couldn’t find their wallet or keys without the other. Or that one could not function in the world apart from their new spouse. Some of these things of course are true. It is of course true that marriage is a holy and God-ordained estate. Yet, marriage is not the only response to loneliness.
This past week I had the opportunity to attend the Best Practices for Ministry Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. It’s an easy sell to a Pastor in Iowa, to attend a conference in Arizona during February. There are sessions, there is loads of food, music, sunshine, everything that you could want. Yet, the best thing about this event is that you are not alone. See, it is not unknown that ministry can be a lonely place. This is well documented, and in the wake of the recent pandemic, political climate, and nationwide division, it can sometimes seem like we find ourselves on an island. Whether someone is serving a dual parish and is the only one holding it together, or someone is a part of a team consisting of a large staff, generally surrounded by people, it can seem as if there is nowhere to go. Yet, we know that it is not good for man to be alone.
Upon returning from the desert, I was refreshed, I was encouraged, I was filled with so much joy, and was ready to be back at it again. Yet, it wasn’t the food, it wasn’t the sessions, it wasn’t the sunshine (although that did help), no it was the dozens of friends I gathered with while I was there. It was the comradery that comes with everyone being in the same situations across the nation. It was the shared dedication to one thing, proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was even for a few days the reminder that you are not alone, and that there is the community of saints which holds one another together.
Yet this isn’t just true for those who are pastors. This isn’t only true for those who serve the church in a variety of ways. This is true, well, for everyone. It isn’t a surprise so many people struggled during the last few years when community was stifled, when requirements of 6 feet kept hugs from happening, and when masks concealed the smile on someone’s face. It is not good for man to be alone. It is not good for people to go through life without the joy and comradery of others. It is not good to walk through life without family, friends, and a community to lift you up. God did not create us to go it on our own, but instead, he created us for brotherhood and sisterhood. He created us to be with one another, lifting each other up, bearing one another’s burdens. We rejoice together and mourn together. It is not good for man to be alone.
So, dear Christian. Wherever you are, wherever you find yourself, you are not alone. There is a community of saints waiting to mourn with you, rejoice with you, care for you, and welcome you. Amid loneliness, seek out Christ in the church where he has promised to be. It isn’t good for you to be alone, and you don’t have to be. It is not good for man to be alone. So, I invite you, to go to the place where Christ crucified is central, where he is preached, and you will not be alone.