So far, 2020 has been a year full of surprises—and mostly not particularly good surprises. Most of us find ourselves confined to our homes waiting for the storm that is COVID-19 to pass.
All across the world many are facing challenges they could never have foreseen:
- Teachers unable to care for students because of a vacant classrooms
- Local businesses fighting to survive as patrons elect to stay indoors
- Health care workers putting themselves in harm’s way to serve their patients
I’m sure you feel the surprise and challenge of this year as well. This time of isolation is difficult on many levels, yet in these challenging times we can look to the example of Jesus and three lessons he can teach us about isolation.
Jesus Remembered God’s Timing
One stressful aspect of hardship is the unpredictability of when it will take place.
Hardship will come, the Bible assures of us this (1 Pet. 5:10); but we also know that whenever it does, we can find strength and peace in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Speaking to his disciplines, Jesus said,
“Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:32-33).
Jesus knew that God has perfect timing. He saw it when he avoided premature arrest because “his hour had not yet come” (John 7:30). As Christians, we know that God doesn’t allow anything to happen to us before the proper time.
Jesus Knew Isolation
Jesus experienced complete isolation from humankind during the crucifixion. His intimate knowledge of suffering means that we can find solace in him when we experience it for ourselves.
In addition, we can take heart in the knowledge that even when we feel completely alone God has not forsaken us (see Heb. 13:5). He lovingly guides us through the most difficult times.
Jesus Knew The Value of Community and the Value of Solitude
After creating man God said, “it is not good for man to be alone”(Gen 2:18). Humans were not meant to live in isolation. Regardless of whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, people are meant to be in community with one another.
Technology has evolved over time enabling us to communicate with almost anyone anywhere in the world. This ability is a blessing in many ways. However, it can tempt us to forget that there are times when it is important for us to be isolated from everything but God.
We see Jesus’ need for solitude in Matthew’s Gospel when Christ went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-39). Jesus intentionally separated himself from his disciples to discern the will of the Father regarding the crucifixion. Having informed the disciples that he would be leaving soon, Jesus didn’t provide the disciples with details of what was to come; that was a conversation meant only for the Father and the Son.
Let’s Be Like Jesus…Even In Isolation
We are living in a season were we are isolated from many of the people, places, and activities we love and enjoy. This can bring heavy hearts and even grief. But we have also been given an opportunity: we can choose to intentionality pursue God in this season of isolation. And when we do, we will begin to look like Jesus—even in a year full of surprises.