Society seems to place high value on independence. It's one of the things my patients tell me they want most for their lives. And it is important, to a point, but it's not the whole story.
God didn't create us to be alone but in relationship to one another. (1) We are interdependent, which is a higher level than independence. We need other Christians for fellowship and support and this was something that the writer of Hebrews recognised as being of the utmost importance. (2)
Working in medicine is a high-stress occupation. We are exposed daily to suffering and death. We face huge dilemmas when it comes to need and resource allocation. Recently I got to the end of morning surgery and felt overwhelmed with the weight of difficulties and suffering I had experienced. I wanted to cry to discharge some of the frustration. Part of me wanted to shut up, put up and maintain the facade that all was well.
Thankfully there was a larger part that told me that I needed to share what was going on. A problem shared was a problem halved. The only person available to me that day was a junior colleague. My ego has a tendency to equate emotion with weakness and it would certainly have been 'weak' to offload my emotional baggage onto a junior colleague. Thankfully my colleague was a Christian and the Lord used her words to comfort and restore me. The perceived worldly hierarchy in my head was thrown straight out of the window. The Lord brings fellow believers into our lives to encourage and enrich us. Scripture teaches us to 'bear one another's burdens'. (3) We cannot bear them alone. We need each other and we must never be too proud to ask for help.
Liz Croton is a GP based in Birmingham.