Walking alone, especially on a soft beach against the wind, is tiring. On clear days, especially warm ones with easy breezes, the journey can be light and easy – as if our souls are looking for a break. A skate through New York's Battery Park in the late spring can be a restoring tonic. Wandering through the dominating Redwoods of California on a warm summer day is taking our inner-self to a luxurious spa. However, tramping between the Wall Street towers in the winter sleet that is driving right to your core early in the morning is miserable, even if you want to be there.
Something about doing it alone, especially when things are wretched creates a burden that few souls can sustain. It is not just the fact that we are alone, because being alone can be nurturing in the right circumstances. It is the fact that we are by ourselves, fighting against the elements, where, in the moment, it seems that we alone are at war. Even when we know with our heads that others are in the battle, we still feel like we are in a trench with dead comrades facing an overwhelming enemy that is relentless.
Paul seems to transcend this problem and at the end of his letter to the Rome church, it becomes clear. “I, Tertius, who wrote this letter at Paul's dictation, send you my personal greetings.” (Romans 16.22)
Paul journeyed with friends who understood the journey and the destination. This makes all the difference. Think about big projects – with and without friends who are helpful! I am not talking about those who sit around watching with a drink in their hand. I am thinking back to times when the efforts came from the magical results of teamwork. When two or more people worked together and the results were far greater than the sum of the parts. It was and is almost like there was another working with us!
God promises to be with us when two or more are gathered. When we work together, He is present.