#1 - The agony and the ecstasy
As relationships go, so goes life.
You can have had the most awful day in history: flat tire, stolen wallet failed exam, parking ticket...you get the idea. However, if the person you have liked for a year calls to ask you on a date, suddenly your day takes a violent shove from terrible to terrific.
On the other hand, you can have had the perfect day: aced the exam, brand new car, new pair of shoes and a job. However, if you have no one you love and trust to share your joy with, life isn't as good as it seems on paper.
Humans were made for relationships; that should go without saying. However, it is significant to note that we are made this way.
From a Biblical standpoint, human beings were made in the image of a relational, Triune God.
In the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, the book of Genesis (which is known as the book of beginnings because it explains the why's of human existence), we get a glimpse into the relational nature planted deeply within each and every person.
God has just done some pretty amazing things. He created the sun, collected up water into piles we call oceans, thought up the giraffe and the zebra and a billion other species. All in a day's work. Then God says something fascinating:
Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness....So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:26-27, emphasis mine).
Us? Our? Who is God talking to? We must remember that the Christian God is Triune, which means that He is three but one, one but three. This is profound mystery (which is a good thing to look for in religion, as a God that is perfectly explainable to a human mind is no God at all), yet it sets Christianity apart from every other religion.
The God of the Universe did not create mankind because He was lonely and needed a friend (or a billion of them). He created humanity out of fullness, out of a perfect relationship between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. As usual, C.S. Lewis captures it best by saying, "We were born out of the laughter of the Trinity."
Much like G'Joe and I couldn't help but let the love we had for each other spill over into making little Joseph's, God created us out of His relational fullness and in His image.
This explains a lot. We were made for relationships because we were made in the image of a relational God.
That being said, few things have greater potential for harm or for beauty, for agony or ecstasy in our lives than relationships. Many of us know the floating feeling of falling in love for the first time; many of us also know the gut-wrenching, dry-heaving pain of a break up.
If some of our deepest wounds and deepest healing and hope come from relationships, it is worth our time to explore the topic of relationships.
They are central to who we were intended to be as humans, they have incredible power for good or ill in our lives, and they have the ability to point us and others to the relational God who is behind all of life.
If we long for healthy, fulfilling relationships, a good place to start is to hear from the One who created relationships, sex and intimacy. He has so much to say to us through His word and much joy, happiness and peace to offer those who seek to listen to Him.