We all need companionship. One of the curses particularly of western society is loneliness. Modern society is more mobile, people move for education, to seek employment or maybe because they see another area as a desirable place to live. Yet this trend leads to a colder, insular and socially isolated society. By moving many people leave families behind and by doing so either end up single and alone, or become a single family unit in isolation of their extended family. People are thus away from parents, grandparents, siblings and friends.

Loneliness can lead to feeling isolated, lead to depression and even lead to suicide. Some people are able to establish new friendships, but for others forming friendships is more difficult. For most people finding close friends that they can trust and confide in, is not easy.

Brethren and sisters in Christ are no different, often family can be far away and we all need companionship. But for us knowledge of the gospel message of hope, brings, or should bring, a totally different perspective. You see no matter what our circumstances, we are never alone!

If the Truth is truly within our hearts, our life will never be hollow. If the Truth is the primary focus of our lives, as indeed it should be, then the companionship of God and His Word, the knowledge that the angel of the Lord encamps around those that fear Him and the knowledge that we belong to a vast divine family spanning the ages, will provide the companionship and stability that is so lacking in secular life.

If we have this knowledge ever in the forefront of our minds, then loneliness will not assail us to the point of despair. Even if physically on our own, we know most surely that the Lord our God sees all, knows all and is present in all avenues of life. The Lord our God is only a prayer away!

Our primary relationship is with God, He is our Father and if we live according to the light of His word, then we have fellowship with Him. Fellowship with others who share the same precious faith comes as a product of fellowship with God.

But equally so, the companionship of fellow pilgrims is very much needed. How else can we be encouraged and built up in our most holy faith. Does not the proverb say:

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Prov 27:17

Thus it is not good for one to seek isolation from those who share the same precious faith. But there are many who live in isolation through circumstance beyond their control, or who go into isolation because circumstances dictate that they must. Those in that position need the support and encouragement of all the other members of the body.

But if we do live alone then we still have that sure knowledge that God is ever mindful of His children. We can all read books about the Truth, read magazines, read exhortations, listen to tapes and in many do things that help to make us feel part of the one body. A husband and wife can support each other, but if companionship of other brethren and sisters is present, then this is a great blessing from God.

If we do have the companionship of brethren and sisters, let us then be grateful for it and make the most of our time with each other. Let the focus be upon building each other up and encouraging each other while we can. Let us never take this benefit for granted or neglect meeting together. Let us be givers and not takers, workers and not hinderers, supporters not complainers. Let us be grateful to God for companionship, yet content if need be to be dwell alone. Though we truly are never alone, for He is always with us.

When we have the opportunity to meet together with our brethren and sisters let us be available to all, but with a view to help them, not unburden ourselves. us neither expect nor overly seek help and let each one make few demands upon others.Paul writes: “every man shall bear his own burden” Gal 6:5. at the same time Paul exhorts:

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2)

To bear the burdens of another involves actively seeking out what is amiss, ways to help and ways to support. It involves not getting wrapped up in our own feelings, but rather being sensitive to another’s needs and feelings. You know if we all did that, then we should not need to make our own needs known, for as we help others, they would be seeking to help us!

Everybody has their own problems in life and one of the best ways to not become bogged down with your own problems, is to forget self and to help others. Indeed the Proverb says:

“The heart knows its own bitterness; and a stranger does not share its joy.” (Prov 14:10)

The truth is we can never fully appreciate another’s feelings; all we can do is just being present and attentive. As another Proverb says:

“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. “ Prov 12:25

Each one will have their own trials and troubles, but knowing that our God is an ever present companion and grateful acceptance of our lot whatever it may be, will bring great peace of mind. If this is our attitude of mind and if we prepare our selves to be alert for the needs of others, then we are becoming truly ‘Christ like’.

Jesus never put himself first, but became as a servant. When he was weary, whenever he was troubled, he still healed the sick and never turned away one in need away. Surely:

“Godliness with contentment is great gain”!

Andy Peel