You can’t do it alone.
This is one of the biggest spiritual realities in life. We need each other to make life work. We are dooming ourselves to failure when we try to do it alone. We are made to be in connection, in community, with one another.
Nowhere is this more true than when we face spiritual battles around us. If it’s true that God made us for community and relationship, it is equally true that Satan will do whatever he can to convince us that it is better, more noble, and easier, to go it alone.
A few days ago, it was clear that my ten-year old son was getting sick. He wasn’t eating as much and his stomach was bothering him. I had already put him to bed for the night, hoping he would get a good night’s rest and feel like going to school the next morning. But not long after I tucked him in, he came downstairs. It was clear that he was feeling even worse. He looked pale, and from feeling his forehead it was obvious that he had a fever. What was worse, his stomach was doing somersaults, and at that point, I knew where we were headed. And as a single parent, there was no one else I could pass this off on.
I’m pretty sure you don’t want me to get into the details of his illness, but let’s just say he lost most of the contents of his stomach that evening, and on into the night. If you are a parent, you know that these are not the most rewarding moments of your parenting life. But taking care of a sick kid is just what you do – part of the job description, so to speak. So I was there, offering him a cup of water, a cold washcloth, and a thermometer. I was there for him, to give him some comfort, and let him know he was not alone. It’s not a heroic act – it’s just what families do for each other.
Whether we are fighting physical battles like illness, or preparing ourselves for battles that will take their toll emotionally and spiritually, this is a profound truth – we need each other. Why do you think Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs? So that one could support the other when the ministry conflict got too overwhelming. So that one could pray for the other in times of distress. Because Jesus knew there was power in community.
In my middle grade action/adventure fiction novel Spirit Fighter, Jonah discovers that he needs others to help him. Even though he and his sister have not always seen eye-to-eye, he realizes that if they are going to rescue their mother from the evil clutches of Abaddon and his evil horde, they will have to do it by relying on each other.
Just last night, I began to feel lousy. I wasn’t hungry, I felt tired, and my stomach was upset. My son had gotten over his sickness, but apparently he had passed it on to me. Ugh…I knew what was coming.
Like my son, I ended up on the floor in the bathroom, with a regretfully-empty stomach. As I sat alone on the cold hardwood, trying to regain control, I heard a light rap on the door. At first I ignored it, but it came again, and I finally stood up on wobbly legs to see which child needed what. (Parenting never stops.) But there stood my ten-year old son, with a cup of cold water in hand, asking if I was okay. I couldn’t help but smile at him as I took it, and he proceeded to find the thermometer, rinse it off in the sink, and pop it in my mouth.
Taking care of each other. Living life together. Walking with one another through difficult things. That is what family does. Both in our blood families, and with our spiritual brothers and sisters, all around us.
This article also appears in the September issue of Christian Online Fiction Magazine.