“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him’ ” (Genesis 2:18).
WE ARE NOT SELF-SUFFICIENT CREATURES. We need contact with other beings who have a nature that corresponds to ours. And not just contact, we need the many benefits encompassed by the word “relationship.” We’ve been constituted such that our needs can’t be completely fulfilled within our own identities. We need something more than ourselves, something outside of ourselves. “It is not good,” God said, “that man should be alone.”
Granted, not everybody needs the same amount of human contact and relationship to be happy. Some of us can get by with a minimum of those things, while others would find it hard to be happy without a bit more. In a pinch, of course, all of us could survive alone on a deserted island if we had to do it, but even so, the norm for human beings is that we need one another.
But while human relationship is important, it’s even more important to see how much we need our Creator. That relationship is the one we really can’t do without. We may delude ourselves into thinking that we’re getting along without Him, for a while, but the fact is, we’d do less damage to ourselves trying to do without oxygen than trying to do without God. Try as we may, we can’t not need Him. Our need for God is the deepest thing about us.
Whether it’s relationship to other human beings or relationship to God, “loneliness” is the word that describes the absence of those relationships. And while you may think there are plenty of problems worse than loneliness, let me tell you that the emptiness of spirit denoted by this word is a terrible thing: it’s terrible not because it’s painful but because it’s the root of so many other problems that plague us. Having been created by God with needs that can only be filled in relationship with others, when those needs are not filled, many harmful things begin to happen.
So what’s the point? It’s simply that we ought to cherish the idea of rich relationship, both with God and with others who’ve been created in His image. We ought to work on building good relationships in every way that we can. And finally, the maintenance of our relationships ought to be one of our most pressing priorities.
“Loneliness is the first thing that God’s eye nam’d not good” (John Milton).