On the first day of the UK-wide Lockdown, I was sitting by myself, in a corner of the house. It was quiet.
The sun began to sink, and I decided to step out. A large grocery bag was folded under my arms.
We live in a busy neighbourhood, and my stomach turned at how unrecognisable it was. Could this silence be louder than our quiet home?
I looked around for signs of life, and when I did find it: it was wrapped with anxiety. The supermarket shelves were wiped out with panic. Strangers on the streets wore faces of worry. Emptiness was everywhere.
Perhaps it’s not just when outdoors.
You may feel alone, even while staring at a screen of familiar faces. You may feel cut off even when sharing a flat with family or mates.
In fact, you may feel disconnected from who you are and what your life is becoming. Oh, help!
All these disparate, isolated pieces before you, are not meaningless. There is a secret place, where bit by bit you are put together.
Invite Christ into your isolation. He longs to be your friend in isolation. Scripture tells us that He knocks on our door to ask if He can come in and simply eat with us.
Scripture tells us how Jesus would withdraw from the rest and meet His Father, sometimes very early in the morning. Sometimes in the wilderness. Jesus chose to do this, even when He is one with the Father.
Lent, typically a time of fasting and reflection, is a reminder of Christ who was in isolation in the wilderness. When the Bible speaks of fasting, it speaks about fasting in private before a Father Who is “Unseen”, but Who “sees what is done in the secret”. There is a secret place between a believer and the Father, which may not look the same for everyone. It is sacred and specific to our contexts. It is a place of being fully known and fully loved.
It is so important and nourishing to isolate with community - family, friends, church. But, are you isolating with Jesus?
Isolating with Jesus is the true remedy for loneliness. It is freedom, in the time of lockdown. Inviting him into our broken hearts and our broken worlds is what we are made for.
However, it is not all warm and fuzzy. He is our Friend, but He is Holy. In fact, walking with Jesus means waking up to the reality of who we are.
We are weak, wretched, inadequate and utterly sinful. There really is no good in us. Inviting Christ into our isolation can be a shocking time of reckoning with how in the busyness of life, we have actually wandered away from our Father.
Praise be to God, that Jesus is gentle with us. Praise be to God that because He was isolated at the cross and has known suffering on our behalf. Praise be to God that He is not going to abandon us to our messy lives and messy hearts. There is no greater love than this, Jesus said, than a friend who lays down his life for his friends.
Jesus, our Friend, died just so that we may enjoy a life of communion with Him.
In Him, is our comfort. Through Him, we are cleansed. Are you isolating with Jesus?