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"Happiness, Only Real When Shared"

In today’s blog, Pastor Draa Mackey opens with a real-life illustration of how isolation can have tragic consequences. God created us for community, and when we try to make it on our own, the end result is, more often than not, dissatisfaction, emptiness, and a longing for something more—something only the Creator God can fulfill.
In 1990, a 22-year-old college graduate from an upper-middle-class family in Virginia gave away most of his possessions and set out across the country by himself, hoping to venture all the way to the Alaskan wilderness. Frustrations with his family, annoyances with materialism, and a desire for freedom, enlightenment, and adventure spurned Christopher McCandless from his home and toward the unknown. His journey would inevitably take two years and involve him barely escaping a flash flood, canoeing into Mexico, and (somehow) managing to find his way back into the US, traveling with a group of “nomadic Hippies,” working on a grain farm, and an over 100-day excursion in Alaska. Things would take an ominous turn when, after expressing a desire to return to civilization, he found his way blocked by a raging river—a river that had merely been a trickle when he’d waded across it a few months previously. Desperate, scared, and alone, he continued scrawling in his journal, remarking that he was quickly running out of food and suspected he’d starve to death before escaping or (by some off-the-wall chance) being rescued. Tragically, approximately 113 days after entering Alaska, he succumbed to starvation. His body was not found until 19 days later.
One of the last jarring notes in his journal, written during his final days in Alaska, is the following: “Happiness, only real when shared.” Now, you may disagree with Christopher McCandless’ assertion. Indeed, each of us has experienced happiness while alone. Maybe after strenuously battling to the summit of a mountain, you found yourself gazing in awe at the lakes, ponds, and other ranges beneath and around you and as far as your eyes could see. Or suppose you’ve been arduously slaving away at a language or algebraic problem only to suddenly experience that coveted Eureka moment where everything starts to click and fall into place. Or maybe you finally perfected that chocolate souffle, Crème Brulee, or pâte à choux. Happiness can be experienced while alone—though, I dare say, it remains incomplete. There is an added joy in watching your fellow trekker huff and puff his way to the summit; there is additional satisfaction in having a conversation with someone in the language you’ve been learning, or in hearing “Eureka!” from another after he or she analyzed your solution to that algebraic problem. And certainly, there’s unmistakable joy in seeing the look of delight in another’s eyes when they, too, realize you’ve perfected that dessert.
According to the biblical account of Creation, the Creator God, Elohim, makes this telling statement—“It’s not good that man should be alone.” Remarkably, this is the first time in the whole of Scriptures that something is declared “not good,” and notice who’s declaring it: God Himself. Humans are, by nature, social creatures. There’s really no escaping it. Even Christopher McCandless, who sought detachment from his family, craved new family in complete strangers during his years’ long escapades across the United States and Canada until that fateful summer morning when he’d realize too late that “Happiness [in its fullest form is] only real when shared.”
If you’ve lived on this planet for more than a day, chances are you’ve experienced the frustration of having your trust violated. Maybe you were relying on someone for a school or work project, and they call you the night before it’s due and ask, “What was I supposed to do again?” Or maybe you were in a relationship and found out that your boyfriend or girlfriend was routinely and romantically texting one of your friends (yikes!). Or, maybe one of your parents left even though they’d said, “I’ll always be here for you.” Each of us has had our trust broken or violated in many, often horrible ways. After this happens and we’re left picking up the pieces of our lives, a dangerous thought can begin festering. It’s that little, angry voice gruffly snorting, “Fine! If that’s what it’s like to trust someone, I’m never doing THAT again. I don’t need anyone. I’m fine on my own.” It can be tempting to give into this voice, especially after experiencing a profound loss of trust.

Just because someone proves themselves untrustworthy doesn’t mean that all things or people are unworthy of your trust.

But losing trust in someone should not lead us to lose trust altogether. Someone’s decision to violate your trust does not mean that trust is bad. Just because someone proves themselves untrustworthy doesn’t mean that all things or people are unworthy of your trust. We are social creatures in desperate need of community. And community is impossible where trust is nonexistent. And if both community and trust are left behind, what in the world remains? Being a lone ranger? But think about it: even the Lone Ranger wasn’t a true lone ranger, because he had Tanto and his horse Silver!
It’s not good that a man or woman should be alone—happiness only real when shared. These claims, written thousands of years apart by very different people in dramatically different circumstances, convey the same truth: we need each other. C.S. Lewis, a 20th-century philologist, author, and Christian apologist, puts forward a moving picture of our need for relationships. 

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will
be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of
keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal.
Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all
entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your
selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will
change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable,
impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable … The only
place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the
dangers and perturbations of love is Hell." (Excerpt from The Four Loves)

If your trust has been violated and you think it’s broken beyond repair, be reminded that there is One with whom your whole heart can be secured. One Who has declared, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). What better way to begin rebuilding your trust than by placing it in the One Who can and will never let you down? “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Jesus is infinitely worthy of your trust. If you place your trust in Him, you’ll increasingly experience renewal and peace as He begins repairing what you once considered irreparable.

What better way to begin rebuilding your trust than by placing it in the One Who can and will never let you down?

John 3:16, 17
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 
John 10:10b
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
We pray that you will be encouraged today to acknowledge God’s design for fellowship with Him and others and to trust in the One who “sticks closer than a brother.”
Author Bio:
Pastor Draa Mackey has served as the senior pastor at Bayshore Baptist Church in Lincolnville, Maine, since 2018. Draa and his wife, Joanna, have been married for almost 6 years and have a 4-year-old son, Kirk, and a six-month-old daughter, Hazel. They love traveling, hiking, distance running (Draa is an ultra-marathoner!), and serving the Lord. To learn more about the ministry at Bayshore Baptist Church, click
HERE.

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