I wonder if in the challenges and frustration of
isolation God is teaching us
that for too long
we isolated Him
to the margins of our life.
It was often,
“Not now Lord… I’m busy!”
And all those things we buried ourselves in…
fell to the wayside when crisis hit.
Closed. Due to COVID-19.
We were told to go home… and stay home.
Isolated from everything we had loved.
Now facing, along with those closest to us,
the reality of things very much different.
And a facing the reality of death in the midst of a broken world.
In isolation it is very possible to feel overwhelmed.
What might we learn through this?
For too long
The craziness of the way our lives were
had to stop.
It went on for too long; we had no idea how to stop it.
Swallowed up in the busy-ness we may have thought,
(even if only for a moment),
“How long can this go on?”
Then we’d dive back in and numb over any thoughts of change.
Stop Button Pressed
And in a way that we had never conceived
the stop button was pressed.
Full empires of land, sea and air travel
almost evaporated in days.
Businesses, from local to global, ceased.
Entertainment rolled up into but a memory.
Now, lingering as in a freeze frame,
we’ve been suspended from everything that was,
and grasp for some sense of ‘normal’.
Maybe afraid that we’ve lost something forever.
So much of what we loved.. and trusted as secure,
became like the early morning mist…
Gone in a moment.
Still that old question
In the isolation of our homes
life has become different,
even busy in a new way,
and that old lingering question echoes,
“How long can this go on?”
Brokenness, pain, fear, frustration, death, all becoming so tangible.
We find ourselves crying out.
Lonely and isolated… there is a God who hears.
There is a God who has and does act.
Conquering that age-old problem
God stepped into this broken world
not to destroy it, or condemn it,
but to save it…
through His Son Jesus Christ, who,
by living and dying in obedience,
and rising to life again,
claimed victory over death,
conquered that age-old problem causing death,
which is sin (and all what comes from it),
and defeated that age-old instigator of sin, which is Satan.
To glory of the Father
and for the gathering of His people.
Our attention can so easily be swayed.
Locked on things not eternal.
I wonder if in the challenges and frustration
God is teaching us
that for far too long we have placed our trust
in that which is temporal.
What if this is a recalibration for us?
That everything HAD to stop in order to get our attention.
That everything HAD to be put out of reach so we would not reach for it?
What if He is longing to hear your and my voice?
What if He is calling us to set our minds on things above
and not on earthly things?
To commune with Him…to look beyond this world.
Ultimate Self Isolation
Jesus suffered and endured isolation His whole life,
climaxing at the cross,
being our willing substitute,
perfectly obedient to the Father…
so that we would no longer experience isolation from God!
We have access to the Father through His redeeming work.
At the cost of His own life, Jesus made available for us
reconciliation (removal of isolation)
with the God who made us.
He rose from the grave, defeating death,
giving evidence of the Father’s acceptance of
His offering made on our behalf for the sin of the whole world.
The works of the devil destroyed.
Though now for a time we still live life in this broken world,
we are no longer separated from God. We live with HOPE.
Our 3 enemies… sin, Satan, and death, are defeated.
We live in confidence.
Everything around us may crumble,
the world may agonize in brokenness…
but the good news is that God hasn’t left us alone.
Restoration has been initiated though Christ,
and He will not leave things how they are.
His work in Christ has always been the plan
and His plan keeps moving forward.
From ancient days,
Christ’s anticipated coming, His arrival, His life, His death and resurrection
were followed by His ascension,
and a promise of coming again.
And so we wait, with eager longing.
First His Kingdom
While on earth Jesus mentioned something about
seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness,
trusting God for our needs,
and He said not to worry about tomorrow.
Take one day at a time.
Isolation comes full circle.
Isolate today to trust in Me.
More than ever tomorrow is uncertain.
And our plans are cut short.
Perhaps like never before
we are faced with the reality
of our need for His Kingdom in our lives…
Today! As first and foremost!
And that we would SEEK it above all else.
The question is not ‘How long can this go on?’
But, ‘How long will it go on? How long will God be patient with us?’
Pressed for Purpose
Have we been pressed into isolation,
away from everything that distracted us from the beauty of His Kingdom…
for a purpose?
That God would teach us and show us that things of this world are like shifting sands?
But things of His Kingdom last forever?!
And He wants to draw us back to Him.
And we’re in overwhelm
because in the tension of letting go of what was
and seeking Christ to lead us into the unknown,
we have lost control and now we must trust.
That takes growth in faith
and a re-familiarizing with what was too easily lost in busy-ness:
His voice. And Kingdom-mindedness.
From Temporary to Eternal
May we not trivialize the work of our Lord,
nor forget the great cost of His isolation given for us… in His life.
Laid down for us on Good Friday.
Taken up again on Easter Sunday morning.
Our isolation is temporary.
It will not last, things of this world do not. But our isolation is purposeful.
To re-orient us to seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness above all else!
there is an isolation that IS eternal.
An isolation from the God of the universe….
we refuse to believe in this Jesus, the One who gave His life for us,
and refuse to seek His Kingdom first.
We are called to believe in Him
and confess Him as Lord.
He is coming again. This time not to deal with sin,
but to make all things new…
to gather those who believe in Him unto eternal life,
and to cast off all others into eternal punishment.
His Kingdom on the move is that serious.
Receive the Gift
So today, while there is still time, hear His voice, repent…
and seek this Jesus and His Kingdom as your own.
Seek Him, even now in your earthly isolation; receive the gift purchased
by His ultimate self-isolation and sacrifice at the cross…
the gift of never having to experience eternal isolation.
“Therefore He is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through Him.” Hebrews 7:25