My aversion to geese probably stems from flashbacks of the birds hissing and honking hot on my trail as my short little legs ran in terror. At the age of six, I was traumatized. Now several Canadian geese have taken up residence on my property. My heart is Grinch-sized when it comes to the nasty creatures. I don’t like them and I never have.
For sport, I like to sic my dog on a gaggle of wild geese. Pea-sized heart I tell you. It is rather entertaining to watch them scatter and fuss as my Aussie instinctively tries to herd the fowl. They usually escape with a short, low flight to the center of the pond. My dog is a good swimmer, but she doesn’t steer very well, so they are safe in the water and they know it.
My heart grew two sizes when I saw this lone bird. Silly, I know…as a goose. Cocked at an odd angle, his wing was obviously broken. Injured and unable to fly, he was left behind. He looked over the lake expectantly, as if waiting for his comrades to return. My heart softened.
Genesis 2:18, “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper as his complement.” HCSB
MAN’S FIRST NEED
Broken is painful, but broken and alone is excruciating. We need each other. Before man needed a remedy for sin, God recognized man’s need for companionship. That basic need has not changed. It is not good to be alone, God said so. We were created to live in community.
Ecclesiastes 4:9, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.” KJV
Chronic illness and grief strain relationships. It is impossible for others to understand and sometimes the depth of our need is overwhelming. Circumstances isolate, while some actually choose to be alone. Lately I have heard several heart-breaking stories of people injured and isolated by their own brokenness. Certainly, addiction or exposed sin lead to isolation. Alone is dangerous and can be deadly. We are all broken, but there is a remedy. No sin is too great. God can handle our need.
Isaiah 53:5, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chatisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”NKJV
I am fortunate to have an incredible network of support. I am grateful for my family, church and friends (including my patients) who have supported me, held me accountable and prayed for me when I did not feel like praying for myself. I have people to “do life” with and I need them. So do you, because it is dangerous to be alone. Remember the scene from Lion King where the hyena is drooling over his appetite for a Wildebeest:
Well… can’t I just pick off one of the little sick ones? Banzai the hyena
Those who are alone are more vulnerable to be picked off. There is safety in the herd, stay in the herd. Stay connected to the loving body of Christ.
1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” ESV
I hope you have no idea what I am talking about. I hope you are like me and surrounded by people who care. But many are not. We should carry each other’s burdens. I pray my eyes will be opened to those whose wings may be broken. Those of us who are in the herd should be on the lookout for those who are alone and injured. Reach out to them before they become dinner for a hyena.
Galatians 6:1-3, “Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.” MSG
WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?
Jesus said we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. The religious people immediately asked, “Who is my neighbor?” They were looking for an out. A classic study was done at Princeton University which demonstrated how time pressure impacted willingness to help one in need. Seminary students were given an assignment on the Good Samaritan, of all topics. When they encountered an actor in need, the ones who were rushed and busy did not stop and help. Ouch!
Luke 10:32, “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him.” KJV
HE SAW HIM
Lord, let me see. Let me have compassion. Who is my neighbor? According to the parable, my neighbor is anyone in need who crosses my path. I am guilty of being too busy or preoccupied with my own issues to see the needs of those I encounter. Honest to goodness, I have never met my next door neighbor and they moved in three years ago. At first, I was too busy, then I was too sick, then it became the norm. Good grief. I have no excuse.
See you later, I’m going to meet my neighbors. They may need me and honestly, I may need them.