“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
“Having a sister or a friend is like sitting at night in a lighted house. Those outside can watch you if they want, but you need not see them. You simply say, “Here are the perimeters of our attention. If you prowl around under the windows till the crickets go silent, we will pull the shades. If you wish us to suffer your envious curiosity, you must permit us not to notice it.” Anyone with one solid human bond is that smug, and it is the smugness as much as the comfort and safety that lonely people covet and admire.”
And this is also the level of safety and calm security that God offers us, given through the prophetic insight of Isaiah, writing nearly three thousand years ago. So “do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.”
But isn’t that different from the “one solid human bond” of which Marilynne Robinson speaks? Not at all, it is the essence of it, the substance of which earthly friendship is only a shadow. And God became flesh to make it both reality and possibility. He “became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. And we beheld his glory.” And He bids us come close, into a dynamic and fruitful friendship.
A closing word from the wonderful Elisabeth Elliot: “Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your saviour, your guide? If He is, you don’t need to search any further for security.”
He is the “one solid human bond” above all others.