We Are Made for Relationships

January 6, 2022

Dad was in his car, racing to try to get to his son, before the 18-year-old killed himself. Alerted by friends where Dylan might be and that he might be in trouble Dad thought, “Just please let him still be alive,”

His son was a high school senior with a promising future. A star quarterback, he had a 4.7 grade point average and 14 offers to play football at Division III. His number one choice was MIT. But in recent months, depression that had started creeping up on his son a couple years ago had worsened, as the places where he once thrived closed due to the coronavirus pandemic: his high school classrooms, where he excelled in honors and Advanced Placement courses; the football field, where he was a team captain; and clubs, like the school newspaper, where he was a sports editor.

As Dad neared the hotel that afternoon, he saw a swarm of police cars. Immediately, he knew he had arrived too late to save his son.

This story was reported on NBC News. I dropped their names because the important thing is our children and teenagers are struggling mightily from isolation associated with all the covid shut-downs and lock downs. The same is true for adults in our country as well. The rates of suicide, depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, physical and emotional abuse, and divorce are all up 25%-50% across the board. A serious question that must be asked is whether the cure was worse than the disease?

The reason we have been so adversely affected is because God created us for relationships with Him and each other, and social media, zoom, and internet classrooms do not fully meet the need. We are created to be together, encourage one another, love each other, and build meaningful relationships with each other that give life meaning, joy, and purpose. From the very beginning this has been true as we read in Genesis 2:20b, “But for Adam no suitable helper was found.” Our relationship with God is critical to our mental health as well as we read in I John 4:7-8, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

As I stated above, isolation is one of the central problems people are facing as a result of covid lock downs. King Solomon had this to say about the danger of isolation in Proverbs 18:1, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” This concerns me in the area of church attendance as well. People who once had a vibrant faith as a part of a spiritual family refuse to return to worship attendance and fellowship and mission activities for a variety of reasons. Church participation was slowly dropping for the years before covid, but many church experts think lots of Christians have been looking for a reason to separate from their spiritual families for years, and covid gave them the excuse they have been wanting. My guess is many of these people are struggling with the battles associated with isolation, but haven’t made the connection that they have isolated themselves.

I will add my anecdotal evidence to all of this. People I know who have come back for regular worship and continued to be with people and work on their faith are showing much lower signs of mental health struggles. Some of those are going through difficult personal struggles not connected with covid, and they are finding what people find when they have a community to love them and encourage them and their faith stays strong. They are continuing to thrive while they go through life struggles.

Of course, we all have to make our own decisions about our medical health. The same is true of our mental health. How many people do you interact with on a regular basis? Have you returned to worship and fellowship with your spiritual family yet? Have you returned to Walmart and other public settings where you are around a lot of people yet? How is your mental health? Are you too isolated? How is your faith? Are you doing the things that help you grow in faith, or is your faith stagnate? God has a perfect plan for your life and I doubt God’s plan includes long periods of isolation. That tends to be satan’s plan for our lives!