I have this image from a favorite childhood book.
It was an adventure novel of two men, braving the wilderness and struggling to survive against daunting odds. It was the type of rough-hewn, straight-talking, no-holds-barred kind of wilderness adventure that lacked any hint of sentimentality – at least to the extent possible for young readers. Here were two men calling upon every shred of human ingenuity to survive against savage beasts, fierce elements, and harrowing terrain.
And then it happened.
One man was left waiting in a cave while his companion scouted ahead. Despite all the hardships he had already endured, this man suddenly realizes that loneliness is the worst. He manages to trap a snowshoe hare for food, but instead of killing the rabbit, this survival-toughened mountain man builds a small cage and gathers blades of grass. One by one he slides the blades of grass through the cage and feeds the rabbit. The book then provides this insight:
“It seemed that anything was bearable as long as somebody or something was present to offer companionship. No man was really sufficient unto himself; this loneliness was far worse than the hunger that gnawed at his belly… He was hungry, hungrier than he had ever been before, it seemed, but he wasn’t lonely. He’d save the rabbit…” Jim Kjelgaard, Wild Trek1
Even more than food, companionship is the greatest human need. And God has given us far more than a wild rabbit for companionship. He has given us family and friends to encourage and console us. He has given us leaders and teachers to inspire us. He has given us Himself as the greatest companion of all.
The Bible tells us that a cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). This is especially true when one of those cords is God Himself.
God has sent each of us on a rough-hewn, straight-talking, no-holds barred wilderness adventure. But He never intends for us to travel alone. Haven’t you, too, experienced the power of companionship? Haven’t you yearned for it, been blessed by it, shared it?
Thank God for the blessing of companionship. Thank God for the family and the friends that are a blessing to you. Then look around, and seek out opportunities to spread this blessing to others.
1Kjelgaard, J. (1950.) Wild Trek. New York: Bantam Books
Janet Beagle, Ph.D. serves as director of graduate programs for Purdue University’s College of Engineering and is a writer, a Bible study teacher, and a student of God’s word. In her spare time, she likes to eat other people’s cooking and hike with her dog, Marly. Read more of Janet’s Christian reflections at www.mustardpatch.org.