“Whoever cannot be alone should beware of community. Such people will only do harm to themselves and to the community. Alone you stood before God when God called you. Alone you had to obey God’s voice. Alone you had to take up your cross, struggle, and pray and alone you will die and give an account to God. . . . You cannot avoid yourself, for it is precisely God who has singled you out. If you do not want to be alone, you are rejecting Christ’s call to you, and you can have no part in the community of those who are called . . . .
But the reverse is also true. Whoever cannot stand being in community should beware of being alone. You are called into the community of faith; the call was not meant for you alone. You carry your cross, you struggle, and you pray in the community of faith, the community of those who are called. You are not alone even when you die, and on the day of judgment you will be only one member of the great community of faith of Jesus Christ . . . .
Whoever cannot be alone should beware of community. Whoever cannot stand being in community should beware of being alone” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).
In my life group this morning, we discussed the importance of community. We talked about how Jesus made it a habit to seek solitude with His Heavenly Father, yet also surrounded Himself with disciples and followers to pour into.
There is something to be said for going alone in prayer to God to lay out your concerns and requests before God. There’s also something to be said for being in biblical community with others who will encourage, challenge, uplift, and champion you. You need solitude and community.
In seasons of loss and trial, it’s not good to bear it alone. You need people who will help to bear your burdens just as you will at some point help to bear someone else’s burdens. That’s how community works.
We go to God alone in solitude so that we can be filled up in order to pour into each other in community, so that we can be better equipped to hear from God in solitude and serve Him in the midst of community. That’s how this grace thing works.