The Pain and Blessing of Relationship

Michael Beck

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us …” (John 1:14)

The lonely wilderness is a proving ground, but so is tight living quarters. We might be able to get along with ourselves very well, but how do we do when thrust together with others? As a society we are becoming more and more disengaged from each other. Remote work, electronic church, online dating. “Rubbing elbows” with each other less and less can also mean we have less opportunity to rub each other the wrong way. That doesn’t mean we’re doing better getting along. It may mean we’ve just not been placed in situations where our character (or lack thereof) has been revealed.

We want relationship, but are often afraid of it – not only because we’re afraid of how another might be, but because we’re afraid of how we might be if we have to share life with them. Marriage can be a pressure cooker. Having children can drive you crazy. Nosy or noisy neighbors can be the bane of our existence. Community brings out the best and worst in us. But what if God wants to bring us into close contact with others not just to meet our desire for intimacy, but to grow us up through all that such contact entails?

Running away from others is often a way for us to run away from ourselves. Jesus could have stayed in heaven. The company of heaven was certainly preferable to what He found on earth. But He dwelt among us, and was made perfect through the sufferings He endured. He showed us that life is not meant to be lived in a vacuum.

Don’t run from real life – run to the Perfected One who will enable you to face life as it is and people as they are. Grow up through interaction with imperfect people – who are just like you.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.