Then Jesus’ disciples said, “this makes us believe that you came from God.” “You believe at last!” Jesus answered. “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:30–33, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Where I live, we are beginning week two of being “scattered, each to his own home,” which we have “affectionately” come to know as sheltering in place. Many of you around the world have been at it much longer than we have. And while I work in an industry that has been deemed “essential” (but not nearly so noble as a front-line responder), I have been fortunate enough to work from home. Fortunate, because my wife fits into four different high-risk health categories (you can read about her in “All About Eve”), and the less exposure I bring home to her the better.
We all deal with isolation in different ways, some of which are depicted in this Sunday’s “amusings” above.
- Tom Hank’s in his movie Castaway created an imaginary friend Wilson. More recently, he self-quarantined with another Wilson, not so imaginary. Coincidence? Or life imitating art? Whatever, it certainly was an improvement, despite having to deal with the coronavirus.
- Some (the toilet paper hoarder) take isolation to the extreme, thinking only about themselves.
- Some self-impose isolation within isolation (the cell phone communicators), not taking advantage of the opportunity to bond with loved ones. Of course, this could have been just about anyone’s dining table before COVID-19. How sad.
- Others go into total meltdown (fear and hysteria), losing perspective, reason and common sense.
- Not depicted are those who recklessly throw caution to the wind, putting themselves in needless danger. But more importantly, exposing innocent others by their selfish abandon.
For those of us with an eternal perspective, it is difficult to say at this point whether this pandemic is the express will of God as the “beginning of birth pains,” or the permissive will of God as Satan casts his evil “spells,” knowing that his time is short. Either way, God is Sovereign. And we know the end of the story, because it has been revealed to us (“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace“). Revealed through another who was also spending time in isolation. “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see.” (Revelation 1:9–11, NIV 1984). Is this the beginning of one of the things he saw?
My Advice – Whatever the reason, these are the circumstances that we are faced with. We did not choose them (although they are one of the consequences of the choice made in the garden). The question is how will we face them? We’ve looked at just a few of the “faces” of isolation. What will your “face” look like? Will you be overcome, or will you be an overcomer? Whether in isolation alone, or alone with loved ones, we are not alone in our aloneness. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Take heart, brother and sisters, and be at peace in this time of distress. “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:12–13, NIV 1984).
“Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”