Are you in isolation?
This is a word that is being banded around like nothing else at the moment as the world responds to the Coved 19 virus. This word is bringing fear, discouragement and panic to many people and no wonder.
No one wants to be isolated, on their own, not include or kept away from the things that bring them happiness and life. Yet our world is being placed in isolation and under strict guidelines nonetheless and for good reasons. It feels scary, out of our control and frightening. I don’t know how it makes you feel but for many families it has brought life changing circumstances that have been difficult and challenging to navigate. From finances to mental health. For many fear is the narrative that is being felt right now. In this place we find ourselves asking why? Why is this happening and how do we find peace and a way out?
In the bible there is a story about Jesus experiencing isolation for forty days and nights. In the story found in Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus experiences some very similar circumstances to what we are facing right now. Jesus was taken into the wilderness, the most barren, lifeless and lonely place you can imagine. There his food supply was limited, he had to face his situation on his own as his friends and family were not with him. In this place of difficulty, he was tempted by Satan to prove himself, his identity, his worth and his capability. Do you ever find that it’s when life is tough that how we view and feel about ourselves comes under fire?
Jesus’s response despite the challenging situation that he is in is amazing. Because he was both God and human he experienced real tiredness, anxiety, loneliness, sadness and temptation. His response to Satan’s temptation however is to not give into the temptation despite how he felt. He responded to Satan’s misrepresentation of the situation and circumstance with Gods real truth. For this Jesus needed to know the real truth. He needed to know at a deep level who God was, who God said Jesus was and in the face of difficulty he chose to hold onto this and not what he was being tempted with.
You might be asking – what does this have to do with me being isolated?
Firstly…however your feeling, happy, scared, worried, lonely or unsure… you are not alone. Jesus knows exactly what it felt like to feel like you do right now. He has been there. In this crisis that the world is feeling and experiencing today God is in it. We may not be able to see him but he is here. He is with us and hasn’t left us on our own.
There is a popular song out at the moment that a band called Leeland have covered called Miracle Maker. There is a line in it that says’
‘Even when I don’t see it you’re working,
Even when I don’t feel it you’re working.’
It speaks about this very same thing that often when we cannot see it God is at work in our lives, those around us and in the world we live in.
Secondly, it is exactly when we are fearful and scared that we can feel the extra pressure to prove ourselves, control what is around us and to adopt unhealthy copying mechanisms. We may be struggling with feeling low, we may be feeling angrier then normal or finding it hard to get motivated. These are very normal responses to the situation the world is in and not bad in themselves but if we are not aware of our struggles we can slip into being tempted to try to cope in unhealthy ways instead of looking to find our worth and identity in God.
This is the same pressure that Jesus faced but he didn’t give into it. In the story where Jesus was being tempted he was challenged to prove himself, his worth and identity right in the middle of being on his own. We too can feel desperate to cling onto whatever control we have, wanting to prove that we are ok and are in control when things around us seem out of control. When we don’t have our normal job, when our financial resource has been taken away, when we can’t go to school to speak to a teacher about our work or see our friends our insecurities raise their heads and we question who we are.
This was how Satan wanted Jesus to feel – unworthy, not important and to question his Identity and relationship with God. However, Jesus knew his true identity was in who God said he was and that was enough for him. He didn’t have to prove himself or try hold things together.
In a similar way we may feel we are in a negative circumstance that we can’t control and feel our ‘identity, purpose and worth’ are on the line somehow. On the cross however Jesus paid the ultimate price for our wrong doing and the mess of the world. This means that no matter what we face, no matter how bad things get there is a God who loves us unconditionally, right now and who sent his son so that we would never be alone. You may not be able to see your friends; your life may have been turned upside down but you’re not alone and God is working for your good. He says that we are enough and that we do not need to prove ourselves. He is in control and is fighting on your behalf. So stay home and be safe and remember that there is nothing that you will feel that Jesus hasn’t felt. He is with you and isn’t going anywhere.