Some time ago I met an elderly man who’d received a charity mailing seeking support for people living alone. “I guess that’s like me”, he said and was surprised to be one of “those” people who needed help. With a shrug of his shoulders he explained that nearly all of the friends he’d grown up with had passed on and he’d lost touch with family members. Yet he was quick to turn down the possibility of a visit from our befriending service and said in a matter-of-fact way, “I don’t need anyone, I do fine on my own”.
I don’t think he is the only one who feels like this. I know of other isolated people who turn away offers of help. Do they really believe they’re better off alone or is it bravado? Self-deception and putting up barriers can be ways people use to protect themselves. Perhaps you’re reading this and thinking I’ll never be like that but we live in an age where everything is so easily available through the Internet it’s easy to forget our need for others.
The break in the Leighton Buzzard water supply on 13 December really brought this home to me. After only a few hours of no supply we’d all become quickly aware of how dependent on water we are. Our dependence is not just on water but the whole organisation behind the provision of water. Anglia Water sent out a letter saying they had 500 engineers working on solving the problem! Social media was alive with rumours and much complaining, everyone waiting for Anglia Water’s engineers to do their magic and get supplies going again.
It’s so easy to live as if we’re independent of others around us but as the water crisis showed this is an illusion. We depend on complicated supply chains not only for our water but food, electricity etc. In fact, virtually everything in modern life requires the involvement of many others in order for us to survive.
So just as we’re wrong when we say we don’t need others could we also be wrong when we say I don’t need God? The Bible is full of individuals (and nations) who lived as if God didn’t exist and their story didn’t turn out well. Time and time again we’re shown that ignoring God and pretending we can be independent of him is a mistake. Just as we flourish when we work together in community we also function best when we’re in harmony with God. If God is behind the scenes making all things hold together, giving us each what we need, lets reach out to him and acknowledge our dependence on him.