How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers (or sisters or husbands and wives) live together in harmony! Psalm 133:1 NLT
I rediscovered the love of togetherness while hiking in the mountains.
My daughter and I were on a 7.2 mile hike in the mountains outside Clayton, Georgia. As we entered the woods, a sea of ferns covering the mountainside greeted us. I thought, This is going to be an easy and enjoyable hike. But the level path suddenly made a sharp drop. Rocks and roots decorated the trail, and recent rains made it slippery.
When we got to the bottom, a raging mountain stream—complete with several small waterfalls—welcomed us. We needed the rest—at least the old man did. The next mile was a steady uphill climb, and after that came a series of up and downhills that appeared endless.
My heart pounded. By the time we were three fourths of the way through, I had exhausted every fiber of energy in my body. My legs wobbled. For the first time in my hiking career, I wondered whether I was going to make it out, especially since I knew the last mile waited with an incline. I stopped every twenty yards for a breather and to drink some water.
Fortunately, my daughter encouraged me. She patiently waited when I had to stop and retrieved my water when I needed it, since my arms were jelly and too tired to reach into my pack for it. With her gentle encouragement, we finally walked out of the woods and took a picture of us standing by the entrance sign.
I agree with the psalmist: life is better when people love each other and get along. To be sure, disagreements occur—they’re inevitable—but when they do, we can disagree without having a sour, unloving attitude.
Friendships and relationships are important, but they don’t just happen. We have to intentionally establish them and then nurture them after we do. Good friends will stick with us through the good and bad times. They will encourage us to take the next step when we feel as if we can’t. Spouses and committed couples will ride out the tough climbs that come with various life setbacks.
Love prompts us to enjoy time with family and friends. While we can choose our friends, we cannot choose our family. They come with the territory. Family is like blood: thicker than water. Enjoying our family makes life more pleasant. Families should be there for each other.
But family and friends can’t replace our love relationship with God. Through Bible study, prayer, and time with other believers, we experience the benefits of togetherness with God. And God is there for us even if everyone else walks away. He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Don’t neglect the benefits of love’s togetherness. Life is too short to live it alone—or miserably.