The other night, my eight-year-old daughter and I were watching an episode of the cartoon, Sponge Bob Square Pants. In this episode, the inhabitants of Bikini Bottom had issued a holiday called “No Sponge Bob Day.” Sponge Bob wasn’t aware of the holiday, and he woke up as usual, turned off his alarm, and went to work at The Krusty Krab. Along the way to work, he saw no one. When he arrived at work, no one was there. He searched for his friends at their homes, but Patrick, Sandy, Mr. Krabs, and Squidward were no where to be found. After searching all over Bikini Bottom, he finally gave up and became discouraged. He couldn’t even find his pet snail, Gary. He was lonely. He tried to become friends with a boat, but the boat was unable to return his friendship, as it was an inanimate object.
Watching this episode actually gave me an uncomfortable feeling. I imagined what life would be like without other people, without relationships, without love. It made me realize two things. First, I wonder if God was lonely before He created us. Since I can’t fully understand God’s nature, I can only make assumptions. However, God did create us to love us and for His glory. Jeremiah 31:3b says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Romans 9:23a says, “What if He did this to make the riches of His glory known to the objects of His mercy, whom He prepared in advance for glory.”
The second thing I realized is that God meant for us to have relationship with Him and each other. Just thinking about it on a basic level, I know that when I was single for many years living alone in Idaho, I used to grow weary of coming home after work to my empty house. I’d have to turn on a movie for background noise. I’d vocally talk to God a lot. I’d find myself reaching out by phone to my mom, dad, and siblings, because I was lonely. I had a few good friends that I made sure to spend time with. I made time in my schedule to visit friends in other parts of the country. These relationships were important to me. In fact, they partially helped me define who I was. I was a daughter, a sister, and a friend, in addition to having my doctor and single person status. Having those relationships gave me people to turn to when I was lonely or discouraged and when I had some exciting news to share. Much of what I felt or did mattered more in my ability to share it with someone. It felt good to belong to something bigger than just me. Although I lived alone, I belonged to a family and to a community of friends. The relationships made a difference.
At the end of the Sponge Bob Square Pants episode, Sponge Bob is desperate for interaction with someone. He has become depressed, discouraged, and he is agonizing over his loneliness. Just when he thinks he can’t handle the situation anymore, a bus pulls up and all of the inhabitants of Bikini Bottom step off the bus. They tell him that they were gone for the day on this holiday. They are happy to see him and Sponge Bob is relieved and happy again. His friends have returned. He is no longer alone.
I didn’t particularly like this episode, but it was a good reminder of why God created us for relationship. I’m so thankful He gave us family, friends, and community. It’s hard enough to live in this world having to face it alone. I’m glad we have loving people in our lives to help us through tough times. God knows what we need, and He wants a relationship with us. He wants you.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” II Corinthians 1:3-4.